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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
Wine leftovers 'fight bacteria'
Grape pomace is used to make vinegar
Grapes left over from the wine-making process could become the latest weapon against bacteria.

Scientists in Turkey have discovered that these leftovers, or pomace, are effective against a range of bugs.

It follows tests on 14 types of common bacteria, some of which can cause food poisoning or serious illness.

Writing in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture, the scientists said adding grape pomace to food could reduce the risk of ill health.

The grapes left over from the wine making process generally consist of nothing more than seeds, skin and stems. They are often used to make vinegar.

Researchers from Erciyes University and Suleyman Demirel University used two types of Turkish grapes for their tests.

Common bacteria

The bacteria they were tested against included E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

E.coli can be found on uncooked food and can cause food poisoning. In some cases, it can trigger life-threatening complications.

What we need to do now is to find a suitable food to put it in
Dr Yiu-Wai Chu,
Society of Chemical Industry
Staphylococcus aureus can sometimes be found on health people's skins without causing any problems.

However, in others it can cause serious illness, ranging from skin infections to life-threatening blood infections.

The researchers found that grape pomace could destroy these bugs. They said the results suggested the leftovers could be used as a preservative in food, protecting it from bacteria.

"The extracts can be used in food formulations to protect food against spoilage bacteria," said Dr Osman Sagdic, one of those involved in the study.

"People prefer natural preservatives in the place of synthetic counterparts in food."

The London-based Society of Chemical Industry welcomed the findings.

"The world is always ready for better and more natural food preservatives," said Dr Yiu-Wai Chu, a member of its biotechnology group.

"What we need to do now is to find a suitable food to put it in. The appearance and taste of the final product must be acceptable to the consumers."

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