Grape "Leftovers" New Weapon Against Bacteria

Turkish scientists have recently discovered grapes left over from the wine-making process could become the latest weapon against bacteria. These "leftovers," or pomace, are effective against a range of common bacteria.

This follows tests on 14 types of common bacteria, some of which can cause food poisoning or serious illness. Adding grape pomace to food could reduce the risk of ill health, scientists said.

The grapes left over from the wine making process generally consist of nothing more than seeds, skin and stems. They are often used to make vinegar.

The bacteria they were tested against included E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus. E.coli can be found on uncooked food and can cause food poisoning. In some cases, it can trigger life-threatening complications. Staphylococcus aureus can sometimes be found on health people's skins without causing any problems.

This isn't as surprising to me as you might think, considering one of the compounds found in grape skins, resveratrol, is known to have a number of beneficial health effects, including fighting cancer. It belongs to a family of compounds known as polyphenols, which are known to combat damaging free radicals in the body.

Wine is currently the primary dietary source of resveratrol. For comparison, fresh grape skin contains about 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratrol per gram, while red wine concentrations range from 1.5 to 3 milligrams per liter.

I'm currently doing research on companies that could produce a resveratrol supplement, as it would certainly be healthier than drinking wine.

BBC News August 23, 2004

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