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At the University of California in Berkeley, chemists have developed a device that can pinpoint the substances in wine that can cause a hangover. These biogenic amines are metabolic products of the cells of animals, plants and humans. They do not only occur in red wine - where tyramine and histamine are thought to trigger headaches - but are also found in chocolate, cheese, olives or nuts.
The innovative detector relies on a technology developed by NASA that was originally intended to find life on Mars. The device only needs a single drop of wine to complete an analysis within five minutes. The inventor, Richard Mathies, is working with a start-up company so he can go into serial production. Soon people who have problems with red wine headaches may be able to test their drinks right at the restaurant.
The wine industry could also be able to use the detector to identify the amines and label their products correspondingly.