The AWRI houses and operates the South Australian node for the newly founded ‘Metabolomics Australia’. Metabolomics Australia is a nationwide, government-funded initiative established to enable the development of, and access to, state-of-the-art metabolomic analysis, through investment into state of the art infrastructure, method development and collaboration and integration.
What is metabolomics?
The term metabolomics refers to the comprehensive analysis (qualitative and quantitative) of the complete set of all low molecular weight metabolites, the metabolome, that exist within a biological system such as grape juice or wine. The metabolome consists of hundreds to thousands of metabolites, and includes a diverse array of different types of molecules with widely varied chemical and physical properties. Metabolomics gives scientists the ability to look at things from a ‘global’ perspective; to see the bigger picture of what happens in metabolic processes such as alcoholic fermentation.
Metabolomics in a wine glass
Wine itself is a complex mixture of several ‘metabolomes’: grape, yeast, bacteria, and oak metabolites contribute to wine chemical composition, shaping a wine’s final characteristics. It is these metabolomes that are responsible for the distinctive “… touch of dark chocolate mixed with blackcurrant …” of a wine.
Metabolomics approaches in wine research will therefore provide a much greater understanding of how variables, such as environmental conditions and genetic variation of vines, yeast and bacteria, shape the sensory attributes of wines and distinguish the best vintages from the ‘also-rans’. Most importantly, greater knowledge will lead to greater control of product quality; winemakers will have more options when attempting to deliver the wine of their dreams.
Where, when and how?
The role of the AWRI Metabolomics is to support local and national researchers and industries, through the development and provision of metabolomic analysis. The AWRI Metabolomics will offer a wide range of metabolomic analyses, from general fingerprinting approaches to fully targeted metabolite analysis. The facility will initially focus of providing strong local support and building expertise in microbial metabolomics. The AWRI Metabolomics will be housed in the new Wine Innovation Cluster at the Waite Precinct and full-scale operation commenced in October 2008. We encourage all interested parties to contact us for more information on metabolomics and the services offered.
Project Leader: Markus Herderich
Project team members: