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Wine waste ‘could prevent tooth decay’

Compounds found in fermented grape seeds and skins could help prevent tooth decay, according to medical experts in the US.

Specific polyphenols found in wine’s waste products interfere with the ability of bacteria to create cavities, and may have wider applications in the fight against life-threatening bacterial infections, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The findings come from a collaboration between the University of Rochester Medical Center and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University. Wineries in the Finger Lakes region were also involved in the two-year research project.

‘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, assistant professor of dentistry at the Center and one of the authors of the study.

‘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.’

The polyphenols could also be used to render potentially life-threatening bacteria harmless without killing them. This contrasts with current antibiotics, which typically kill bacterial infections, but can also provoke the development of resistant strains, against which they are ineffective.

There could also be economic and environmental benefits in developing medicines from wine waste products, the study adds.

Written by Richard Woodard

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