Red wine and grape juice help defend against food-borne diseases

Oct 11, 2007

Red wine is known to have multiple health benefits. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found that red wine may also protect humans from common food-borne diseases.

Researchers Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Atreyee Das, a doctoral student in the food science program, are conducting on-going studies examining the inhibitory effects of numerous types of red wines, as well as grape juice, against pathogens and probiotic bacteria, which naturally reside in the intestinal tract and can be beneficial in combating, among other things, high cholesterol and tumors.

They found that red wines – Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular – have anti-microbial properties that defend against food-borne pathogens and don’t harm naturally useful bacteria like probiotic bacteria.

E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes and H. pylori were among the pathogens examined. E. coli and Listeria can be fatal. Mustapha said the most promising results involved Helicobacter pylori, which can be transmitted via food and water and is the main cause of stomach ulcers.

“Our study is a little different than those previously reported in the media. Those studies promote moderate red wine consumption for cardiovascular diseases,” she said. “We went a step farther and asked: If red wine is already good for cardiovascular diseases, what about food-borne pathogens" If you get a food-borne illness and drink red wine, will that help decrease the symptoms a little bit" This study showed that the four probiotics tested weren’t inhibited by red wines; the pathogens were.”

In lab tests, Mustapha and Das focused on ethanol, pH levels and reseveratrol, which is a phytochemical found in grape vines and the skin of grapes. It also is responsible for the red coloring in red wines. They found that in addition to ethanol, pH and reseveratrol also may inhibit food-borne pathogens.

Numerous white wines also were tested, but yielded no positive results, the researchers said.

“It’s not just ethanol in the red wine that is inhibitory toward food-borne pathogens, but other factors which include the pH of the wine – because wines are a little acidic, and possibly the phytochemicals may have an effect,” said Mustapha, noting that grape juice produces similar results. “We hypothesize that these phytochemicals, reseveratrol being the main one, also play a role not just as antioxidants but also may have some inhibitions against food-borne pathogens. Now, we’re concentrating mainly on the reseveratrol effects on these pathogens.”

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

16 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

16 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.