Science

Durian and papaya wine, anyone?

Scientists smell success with durian wine
Scientists in Singapore are turning their hands to wine-making, using the pungent-smelling durian as a replacement for grapes. They're still a long way from commercializing durian wine, but the researchers are confident that the so-called "King of Fruits" has potential for producing a wine that people will want to drink.
Published: 8:04 PM, July 10, 2013
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SINGAPORE — Student researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have successfully produced durian and papaya wine as part of their project.

The papaya wine research started five years ago while the durian wine has been a three-year project.

The students adopted the traditional wine fermentation process but did away with the use of sulphur dioxide. This means chemical treatment is minimised greatly.

They also used mild heat compared to the usual high heat treatment to produce wine to give a rich creamy colour and a buttery taste to the wine.

In developing the two tropical wines, the students successfully produced various aroma profiles of the wines, with each differing slightly in flavour and complexity.

The research group expects the papaya wine to be well received by tropical wine lovers.

Ms Christine Lee, a PhD student from the NUS Food Science & Technology Programme, said: “There’s no papaya wine available in the tropical Asian region, so this is the oomph factor. It’s fruity sweet with tropical flora, so once you drink this wine, it will remind you of the tropical region.”

But the age-old question arises: Isn’t it unsafe to consume durian and alcohol together? There have been incidents of people reportedly dying from sudden cardiac problems after consuming durian and alcohol together.

Dr Liu Shao Quan, Assistant Professor at the NUS Food Science & Technology Programme, said: “Indeed there’s such a belief. Recent study has shown that it is the sulphur compounds in the durian that caused the potential fatal incident. And actually after fermentation, the sulphur compounds are reduced significantly to the trace levels, therefore there should not be any safety issues.”

But convincing people of the wine’s safety is just one of the challenges faced by the students.

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