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NASA technology found to remove cork taint

A process designed by NASA scientists to remove airborne contaminants can eliminate TCA as well.

Airocide was originally developed in the 1990s to keep fruit and vegetables fresh on a space station.

It has been proved in concept trials to remove 90-95% of TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole), which causes cork taint in wine, from a sealed room within 24 hours.

The process works by sucking air through a box containing a ‘bed’ of titanium dioxide catalyst. This is irradiated by UV bulbs, oxidising any organic contaminants.

‘The final oxidation products of organic things are carbon dioxide and water vapour,’ said Alistair Thompson, general manager of Surrey Diagnostics, agents for Airocide.

‘So instead of trapping things, as filters do, Airocide destroys them.’

Independent UK wine laboratory Corkwise performed the trials on behalf of Airocide.

Airocide is already used in hospitals, research facilities and for food storage – but is relatively new to the wine industry.

Potential uses exist throughout the supply chain, from wineries to warehouses. The cost ranges from £1,500 for small units, to upwards of £7,000 for large ones.

Written by Sally Easton

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