Red wine tannins fluidify and precipitate lipid liposomes and bicelles. A role for lipids in wine tasting?

Langmuir. 2014 May 20;30(19):5518-26. doi: 10.1021/la5005006. Epub 2014 May 2.


Sensory properties of red wine tannins are bound to complex interactions between saliva proteins, membranes taste receptors of the oral cavity, and lipids or proteins from the human diet. Whereas astringency has been widely studied in terms of tannin-saliva protein colloidal complexes, little is known about interactions between tannins and lipids and their implications in the taste of wine. This study deals with tannin-lipid interactions, by mimicking both oral cavity membranes by micrometric size liposomes and lipid droplets in food by nanometric isotropic bicelles. Deuterium and phosphorus solid-state NMR demonstrated the membrane hydrophobic core disordering promoted by catechin (C), epicatechin (EC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the latter appearing more efficient. C and EGCG destabilize isotropic bicelles and convert them into an inverted hexagonal phase. Tannins are shown to be located at the membrane interface and stabilize the lamellar phases. These newly found properties point out the importance of lipids in the complex interactions that happen in the mouth during organoleptic feeling when ingesting tannins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Tannins / chemistry*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Liposomes
  • Tannins
  • Catechin
  • epigallocatechin gallate