Biogenic amines may be one of the factors responsible for symptoms such as headaches, gastro-intestinal disorders, shortness of breath, fall in blood pressure, and even unconsciousness and cardiac arrhythmia in severe cases. Histamine, one of the best known members of this group, can cause serious physical problems. Biogenic amines can be produced in the body by natural metabolic activities but are also ingested in larger quantities with food. They play a special role in microbiologically produced food such as wine, beer, cheese, and sauerkraut. In a joint project Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Dienstleistungszentrum L-ndlicher Raum Rheinpfalz (DLR) have developed measures to identify and reduce biogenic amines in wine, where they can be of particular risk to human well-being.
The goal of these investigations was to avoid high concentrations of biogenic amines in wine. The corresponding investigations were performed in the Institute of Microbiology and Wine Research at Mainz University and the Dienstleistungszentrum L-ndlicher Raum Rhenish Palatinate in Neustadt in a joint project sponsored by the Research Association of the German Food Industry (FEI). "It is important to make efforts in order to reduce biogenic amines in wine, since this problem shall increase in future," predicts Professor Dr. Helmut K-nig of the JGU Institute of Microbiology and Wine Research (IMW). Compared to other microbiologically processed food such as cheese the concentration of biogenic amines in wine may be low. However, their effect on sensitive human beings may be strongly increased during simultaneous ingestion of wine and other problematic food since alcohol significantly impairs the body's ability to metabolize biogenic amines.