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New cell component important to tea and wine-making
Date:9/11/2013

ch as defense against herbivores and pathogens or ultraviolet protection. They give feeling of pungency in the mouth, the feel of a cat's tongue licking your hand. Common sense associates tannins with immature unripe fruit, and people ironically say 'this fruit is too green'. More seriously, plant tannins have been used since the Neolithic times to prevent spoilage of animal skins, and therefore first to manufacture leather laces and soles protecting feet of rough ground."

The result was unexpected and was checked and rechecked. Conjro added: "To come to that conclusion and propose a somewhat revolutionary model, we needed a multidisciplinary approach associating several microscopy and biochemistry techniques. The most intriguing finding from this study is the very close proximity of the tannin polymerization system and the photosynthesis supercomplexes."

Aside from their protective roles in plants, tannins are also important in making tea and red wine taste the way they do. It isn't every day that a new organelle is identified, but this goes to show that something as commonplace and seemingly familiar as the cell still has secrets to be discovered. Something to think about the next time you have a cuppa or glass of merlot?


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