The Wasp Does More Than Sting! 黄蜂不仅仅只会蛰人!

眼睛累了不想看屏幕?在路上不方便阅读?您可以来听作者们为您朗读的这个博客喔!Don’t feel like reading? You don’t have to! Tune in to listen to our authors read you this blog.

Chinese (中文原声)晴格格Audio

English (英文原声) Isabell

Ode to the wasp!

One of the most beautiful things of wine is the fact that basically it’s complex; it’s made of several parts and it communicates to several parts of your brain.” (Duccio Cavalieri). 

“葡萄酒最美丽的地方之一是它从根本上来说是复杂的;它由几个部分组成,与你大脑的几个部分进行交流”。(杜奇奥·卡瓦列里)。

Roman wine and cup

Many people think that wasps in the vineyard are a big problem worthy of pest control, but how wrong they are!  Wasps are in fact very useful, even if they send people running in fear of being stung. Somehow the Romans knew that wasps played some kind of important role in the winemaking process, and they planted certain plants and flowers to attract them – it seems the Romans were onto something.

许多人认为葡萄园里的黄蜂是需要防治的害虫,但是其实他们大错特错!黄蜂实际上非常有用,即使它们让人们因为害怕被蛰而避开逃走。不知何故,罗马人知道黄蜂在酿酒过程中扮演了某种重要的角色,他们种植了某些特定的植物和花来吸引它们——看来罗马人对此是心知肚明的。

Wasp eating a grape

According to a relatively recent study, wasps are responsible for kick-starting the fermentation process by depositing yeast into vineyard grapes. Even though yeast is added to grape juice later on in the winemaking process, the wasps start up the process once they bite into the fruit. This yeast then goes to work, eventually adding to the flavors of the finished product. Just as importantly, these insects also deposit certain enzymes along with the yeast which also adds to the flavors of the wine. 

根据较新的一项研究,黄蜂负责通过将酵母菌沉积到葡萄园里的葡萄上来启动发酵过程。即使有时在后来在酿酒过程中酵母被添加到葡萄汁中,黄蜂一旦咬进水果就会开始这个过程。这种酵母然后开始工作,为最终的成品增加味道。同样重要的是,这些昆虫也会和酵母一起沉积某些酶,这也增加了葡萄酒的风味。

Saccharomyces cerevisiae under the microscope

The yeast that is responsible for starting the fermentation process in products like wine, beer and bread is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae — commonly known as brewer’s yeast. The wasps responsible for spreading this yeast in Europe are mainly the European hornets and paper wasps. Duccio Cavalieri, professor of microbiology at the University of Florence, Italy led a study on the role that wasps play in the vineyard. By using DNA sequencing techniques to analyze the genes of the yeast, researchers were then able to trace them to the wasps. They also concluded that hornets could pass the yeast to their offspring.

负责在葡萄酒、啤酒和面包等产品中启动发酵过程的酵母称为酿酒酵母Saccharomyces cerevisiae——通常称为啤酒酵母。负责在欧洲传播这种酵母的黄蜂主要是欧洲黄蜂和造纸胡蜂。意大利佛罗伦萨大学微生物学教授杜奇奥·卡瓦列里开展了一项关于黄蜂在葡萄园中所起作用的研究。通过使用脱氧核糖核酸测序技术来分析酵母的基因,研究人员之后能够追踪到这些酵母来自于黄蜂。他们还得出结论:大黄蜂可以将酵母传给后代。

Duccio Cavalieri, professor of microbiology at the University of Florence, Italy

Interestingly, wasps are not the only carriers of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, there are birds and insects that also carry it, but there is a distinct difference in that, while birds and insects may carry the special fermentation agent, they are only able to harbor it for a short time before it disappears. With wasps however, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae stays in their bellies throughout the winter during their hibernation cycle and it is passed onto their young, this is then available to be spread when they go in search of food. 

有趣的是,黄蜂不是酿酒酵母(Saccharomyces cerevisiae)的唯一载体,也有鸟类和昆虫携带它,但有一个明显的区别,虽然鸟类和昆虫可能携带特殊的发酵剂,但它们只能在酵母消失前短暂地保存它。然而,对于黄蜂来说,酿酒酵母在冬眠期间整个冬天都呆在它们的肚子里,并传递给它们的幼蜂,然后当它们去寻找食物时,这些酵母就可以传播开来。

Wasp nest in a tree

So, the next time that you are on a picnic and start swatting at those grumpy bugs, remember how important their role is in the ecosystem – and how delicious the wine in front of you tastes – in part because of them!

所以,下次你去野餐并开始拍打那些坏脾气的虫子时,记得它们在生态系统中的重要作用——以及你面前的葡萄酒如此之美味——有它们一部分的功劳!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s