The impact of light on the oxidative and reductive aging of wine


Figure 1: Iron (III) citrate

Our work has previously shown the underlying fundamental chemistry by which iron (III) organic acids, in combination with light, can initiate oxidative processes in model wine systems.

In fact, it is the same underlying photochemistry that is relevant to the production of blue prints (Figure 1), which make use of iron (III) citrate photoactivity.  This process can lead to alteration of wine flavour, colour and shelf-life.

Figure 2: The impact of light exposure on the colour of model wine systems containing tartaric acid

Figure 2 shows the impact of light exposure on the colour of model wine systems containing tartaric acid. The results have shown that the effectiveness of the wine preservative SO2 is tempered by a combination of light exposure to wine, which in turn alters wine development during bottle aging.

Despite this work, many factors by which light can impact the oxidative and reductive development of wine are not well understood.


This project will investigate the impact of light on oxidative and reductive development of wine. This will include the:

  • Establishment of a method for measuring markers of initiation by iron (III) organic acids in wine
  • Assessment of the impact of light on the sulfur dioxide to oxygen consumption ratios
  • Further investigation into the impact of white and red wine composition on the influence of iron(III) organic acid photoiniators
  • Determination of the competitive or synergistic role of wine photoinitiators in oxidative and reductive conditions: riboflavin versus metal-organic acids
  • The use of light to modulate sulfur compound precursors in wine

PhD position available (ICHDR8)

We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate with a high level Honours or Masters qualification or equivalent in chemistry.  The project will be based at the Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University.  The candidate will develop skills/techniques in liquid chromatography, including LCMS (QQQ and QTOF), as well as gas chromatography, including GCMS (QQQ). The work may also utilise laser excitation experiments based at The University of Melbourne.

For further information on the Centre PhD’s, including eligibility, visit the Join Us page.  If you are interested in this project, email project leader Dr Andrew Clark to express your interest, including a copy of your CV and academic transcript.

Project leader

Andrew Clark
Charles Sturt University

Other investigators

Kerry Wilkinson
University of Adelaide

Leigh Schmidtke
Charles Sturt University

Industry partners

NSW Department of Primary Industries

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