Fungi May Hold Key to Reducing Grapefruit Juice Interactions with Medications

November 17, 2009 By Sharon Durham
Fungi May Hold Key to Reducing Grapefruit Juice Interactions with Medications
ARS scientists have found that certain fungi can prevent compounds in grapefruits from interfering with some prescription medicines. Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Citrus.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A fungus may help solve a problem of a grapefruit compound that interacts negatively with certain prescription drugs, according to studies by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Grapefruit contains furanocomarins (FCs), which inhibit the responsible for metabolizing certain prescribed medications and allowing more of the medication to enter the bloodstream. FCs are phytochemicals commonly found in plants. Two well-known phytochemicals are Vitamins C and E.

Grapefruit juice can interfere with the metabolism of certain medications used to treat a wide range of conditions such as allergies, , depression, hypertension, infections, heart disease, and high . The grapefruit industry may have lost customers who no longer drink grapefruit juice due to their medications.

ARS chemists Kyung Myung and John Manthey and microbiologist Jan Narciso at the ARS Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory in Winter Haven, Fla., began the study using a fungus—Aspergillus niger—to bind and break down FCs in grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit juice contains three main FCs. Myung found that A. niger either bound these FCs or enzymatically broke them down into other products. Enzymatic inactivation of these compounds may be a means of eliminating them from commercial grapefruit juice, and work to identify these enzymes in A. niger is in progress. A. niger is one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus that can cause black mold on certain fruits and vegetables but often doesn’t cause human disease.

Myung and his team decided to also test edible fungi, or mushrooms. In studies, they found that edible mushrooms such as morels, oyster and button mushrooms—when dried, pulverized and added to —also removed FCs. That provides researchers with evidence that fungal proteins could be responsible for removing the FCs from the .

This research was published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

Explore further: Orange, grapefruit juice for breakfast builds bones in rats

Related Stories

Edible fungus foils dangerous grapefruit-drug interactions

February 2, 2009

Scientists in Florida report that adding an edible mushroom-like fungus to grapefruit juice may help to reduce the serious side effects that can occur when people taking certain prescription drugs drink grapefruit juice. ...

Grapefruit diet almost cost woman her leg

April 2, 2009

A woman who ate a grapefruit each day almost had to have her leg amputated because of a dangerous blood clot, according to an unusual case study reported in the Lancet.

Food 'Tattoos' an Alternative to Labels for Identifying Fruit

August 31, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Those small and sometimes inconvenient sticky labels on produce may eventually be replaced by laser "tattoo" technology now being tested by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Florida scientists. ...

Recommended for you

New chemistry makes strong bonds weak

July 28, 2015

Researchers at Princeton have developed a new chemical reaction that breaks the strongest bond in a molecule instead of the weakest, completely reversing the norm for reactions in which bonds are evenly split to form reactive ...

Making polymers from a greenhouse gas

July 28, 2015

A future where power plants feed their carbon dioxide directly into an adjacent production facility instead of spewing it up a chimney and into the atmosphere is definitely possible, because CO2 isn't just an undesirable ...

New material opens possibilities for super-long-acting pills

July 28, 2015

Medical devices designed to reside in the stomach have a variety of applications, including prolonged drug delivery, electronic monitoring, and weight-loss intervention. However, these devices, often created with nondegradable ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

pres68y
not rated yet Nov 17, 2009
Gee, using a $0.20 grapefruit to reduce the consumption of an additional $20.00 pill would negatively affect the pharmco profit!

We cannot permit that to happen.
(I own Pfizer stock :)
Don't do any testing that might reduce costs
- just outlaw grapefruit!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.