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Tropical fruit wine made in NUS

15 July 2013

(From left) Fransisca, Dr Liu and Christine with the papaya and durian wine
While wine is typically known to be made from grapes, tropical fruits have also been used in the concoction of the alcoholic drink. But using papaya and durian to make wine, as final-year PhD student Christine Lee and Honours student Fransisca Taniasuri from the Food Science and Technology Programme of the NUS Faculty of Science have done respectively under the supervision of Assistant Professor Liu Shao Quan, is still relatively uncommon.

The idea of producing papaya wine was first mooted to avoid wastage. “Large quantities of papaya are wasted due to factors such as rapid post-harvest deterioration, high heat and humidity, poor handling, poor storage procedures and microbial infestations,” said Christine.

Over a five-year period, she laboured over the wine-making process, using different inoculation strategies and introducing yeast species such as Saccharomyces and Williopsis.

The result was papaya wines with alcohol content spanning from 1.6 to 5.4 per cent. The wines also possess different characteristics and aroma profiles.

As for Fransisca who chose to make wine from durian, she shared that though there are various durian products, limited studies have been conducted on alcoholic fermentation of the fruit.

She applied three treatments on the durian, namely alcoholic fermentation, simultaneous alcoholic-malolactic fermentation as well as sequential alcoholic-malolactic fermentation.  The result is durian wine with alcohol content of 6 per cent and almost devoid of the fruit’s well-known pungent smell.

Moving forward, both Christine and Fransisca are keen to collaborate with commercial partners who are interested in their technology.