Friday, April 6, 2007

Wine Industry Turns Its Nose at Ladybugs

Ever wonder what makes ladybugs so smelly? A team of researchers reports to have set off to find the answer and comes back with some surprising results.

Of the 38 compounds identified, [Lingshuang] Cai determined that 2,5-dimethyl-3-methoxypyrazine (DMMP), 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (IPMP), 2-sec-butyl-3-methoxypyrazine, and 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine play a major role. The overall smell is a mixture of nutlike, green bell pepper, potato, and moldy odors. At the concentrations present in ladybug emissions, the mixture is "really stinky," Cai said.
As a consequence of this research it is hoped that the wine industry can use this information to improve the quality of production. These insects are known to feed off of grapes in vineyards and can contaminate the wine if they are processed along with them. Now that the offending chemicals are known, any such tainted wine could be refined and its effects nullified. Cheers!