Plumpton College is pleased to have received two important pieces of laboratory equipment in the last month: a new High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) set-up and a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine. Microbiology lecturer and laboratory manager, James Clapham, explains why these two pieces of equipment are important for their research and students…

HPLC allows us to separate individual components of wine and juice and accurately quantify them. This will enable students to engage in research with organic acids and polyphenolic compounds, looking at how these substances differ between climates, varietals, age, and winery practices. Our new system features a quaternary pump for blending up to four different solvents, a diode array detector (DAD) for access to spectral data for several wavelengths simultaneously, and an autosampler ensuring consistent sample injection.

Our new thermal cycler allows us to differentiate between yeast species and strains at a genetic level using PCR. While this provides rigour to investigations where characterisation of yeasts is the main focus, it also enables us to survey the microflora of vineyards and wineries to understand how this may diff er between regions and influence the final wine. This model can run 96 PCR reactions simultaneously for high throughput analysis and temperature gradient technology for reaction optimisation.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Vineyard. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports for winemakers and growers in Great Britain, read our latest issue here and subscribe here