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 http://www.eurekalert.org,
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.