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Winemaking waste proves effective against disease-causing bacteria in early studies
Date:1/2/2008

A class of chemicals in red wine grapes may significantly reduce the ability of bacteria to cause cavities, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The findings suggest that specific polyphenols, present in large amounts in fermented seeds and skins cast away after grapes are pressed, interfere with the ability of bacteria to contribute to tooth decay. Beyond cavities, the action of the wine grape-based chemicals may also hold clues for new ways to lessen the ability of bacteria to cause life-threatening, systemic infections.

Even better, the compounds embody an emerging philosophy in design of drugs against bacteria: take away their ability to cause disease without killing them. Current antibiotics often kill a strain of bacteria responsible for disease, only to create a vacuum quickly filled by related strains. The widespread overprescribing of antibiotics and the speed of bacterial evolution have greatly increased the likelihood that the strains most able to resist antibiotics will thrive and spread. This trend is evident in recent reports that one strain of bacteria has become resistant to all 18 antibiotics approved for use in childhood ear infections, while another now causes more U.S. deaths than AIDS. New approaches seek to take away bacterial capabilities that cause disease (virulence factors) without selecting for resistance or killing beneficial bacteria.

Most foods contain compounds that are both good and bad for dental health, so the message is not drink more wine to fight bacteria, said Hyun Koo, DDS, Ph.D., assistant professor of Dentistry within the Eastman Department of Dentistry and Center for Oral Biology at the Medical Center. We hope to isolate the key compounds within the winemaking waste that render bad bacteria harmless, perhaps in the mouth with a new kind of rinse, said Koo, an author of the current study.

The findings are the result of collaboration betwee
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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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