Back

Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

|
By Blaine Friedlander
Share
  • Food Science
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Fruits
  • Health + Nutrition
Pomace – the mashed, leftover pulp from red grapes in the early process of making wine – is considered byproduct rubbish. But maybe not for long.

In a new Cornell-led food science study, researchers now demonstrate how viticultural trash could be a nutritive treasure.

The group showed that two stilbenes – beneficial molecular compounds found in plants – can affect human intestines and the stomach’s microbiome in a healthy way. While this still needs further research, the finding may play a role in reducing the risks from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to their work published Sept. 18 in the journal Nutrients.

“This byproduct of making wine has important potential,” said Elad Tako, associate professor of food science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “If we can use the pomace to either extract key compounds or use them as a dietary ingredient to fold into food, then grape pomace can be a very sustainable source of nutritional compounds with demonstrated health benefits.”

Tako said the research provides understanding on how stilbenes work at the human gut level.

Additionally, in the study, the Tako research group screened red grape varieties typically found in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, where a robust winery economy exists. The team used Vitis vinifera (wine grapes), Vitis labruscana (Concord grapes) and an interspecific hybrid, to associate the findings with practical dietary health benefits of grape and grape product consumption, Tako said.

“I’ve been working with polyphenols (plant-based nutritional compounds), and I was intrigued by previous research that suggested that bioactive compounds – such as resveratrol in red wine – has cardiovascular and other health benefits,” Tako said. “The mechanism of how these compounds work in the body was not clear, so I used my in vivo model to find the answer.”

By using a chicken (Gallus gallus) as in vivo model, the scientists were able to determine the nutritional benefits of the stilbenes, resveratrol and pterostilbene.

The embryonic phase (the fertile egg) of Gallus gallus lasts for 21 days, which is when the embryo is surrounded by amniotic fluid (egg whites), naturally and orally consumed by the embryo prior to hatch on day 21.

In the experiment, the stilbenes extract was injected into the eggs’ amniotic fluid, consisting mostly of water and peptides, on day 17 of embryonic development. The amniotic fluid and the added nutritional solution were then consumed by the embryo by day 19 of incubation – a method developed by Tako called “intra amniotic administration.”

In this way, the group learned how the resveratrol and the pterostilbene affects the gastrointestinal tract, as well as other physiological systems and tissues, Tako said. The group confirmed positive, nutritional effects on the intestinal microbiome and small intestine.

Joining Tako on the study, “Modifications in the Intestinal Functionality, Morphology and Microbiome Following Intra-Amniotic Administration (Gallus gallus) of Grape (Vitis vinifera) Stilbenes (Resveratrol and Pterostilbene),”are Cornell doctoral students Mariana Juste Contin Gomes, Nikita Agarwal and Nikolai Kolba; chemist Dean Kim ’20; and Adi Eshel and Omry Koren, both on the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Safed, Israel.

This research has led to a patent, and the manuscript is part of a Nutrients special issue, “Dietary Polyphenols and Flavonoids, Mineral Bioavailability, Gut Functionality, Morphology and Microbiome.”

This story first appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

Keep Exploring

Students brew beer.

News

It’s got Finger Lakes hops, malt and cherries, plus Cornell maple syrup. Introducing ‘Gorges Libe-ation,’ a red ale developed by grad students and chock full of New York.
  • Arnot Teaching and Research Forest
  • Food Science
  • Food
Jim Giovannoni inspecting tomatoes

News

A team of researchers have identified a gene that regulates tomato softening independent of ripening, a finding that could help tomato and other fruit breeders strike the right balance between good shelf life and high-quality flavor.
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Biology Section
  • Agriculture