Wine Waste may be good for Oral Health

Researchers in New York say polyphenols in grape seeds and skins discarded during wine making may be effective at killing bacteria that causes dental plaque, according to a recent report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry .

It said chemicals in red wine grapes interfere with the ability of bacteria to contribute to tooth decay and also may hold clues for new ways to lessen the ability of bacteria to cause life-threatening, systemic infections, the University of Rochester Medical Center said last Friday in a news release.

The findings are the result of collaboration between the center and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University. The study was funded by USDA.

The study, reported on, examined the make-up of polyphenols in red wine grape varietals and their ability to interfere with bacteria, which produces acid and the building blocks of the dental plaque.

"Overall, the phenolic extracts disrupt essential virulence traits for a widespread, destructive oral pathogen, but without killing it," said Olga I. Padilla-Zakour with the Station.

Cabernet Franc extracts were seen to be the most effective, with Pinot Noir in second place. None of the extracts were seen to actually kill the bacteria.

Despite these positive early results, lead researcher Hyun Koo said that the findings should not be taken as a signal to drink more wine.

"Most foods contain compounds that are both good and bad for dental health, so the message is not 'drink more wine to fight bacteria'," Koo added.

They obtained red wine grapes and pomace from wineries in the Finger Lakes area of New York state, including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Baco Noir, and Noiret, and prepared polyphenolic extracts from these.

The use of waste material from an industrial process is an economical and environmentally friendly way to find benefit for nutrients that would otherwise be thrown away or end up in animal feed.

More than 80 per cent of all grapes grown are used to make wine, and the fermented waste, known as pomace, is understood to contain at least as many polyphenols as the whole fruit.




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