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Checkbiotech: Scientists try to make wine that's good for you
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: August 11, 2004 07:20AM ;

JOHANNESBURG - Local scientists are working on creating a genetically
engineered wine that will help to fend off heart disease, August 2004 by
Gill Moodie .

A team at the University of Stellenbosch is studying the metabolic chain
of events that occur when wine yeast turns the sugar in grapes into
alcohol - and how this can boost antioxidant levels.

"Health and wine has received a lot of attention in the past decade and
nutraceuticals [beneficial food additives] are on the map now. It comes from
the increased health knowledge of consumers," said Professor Florian Bauer,
a geneticist at the university's Institute for Wine Biotechnology.

Antioxidants help fight heart disease and cancer and reduce the effects of
ageing, he said.

The scientists are also studying wine yeast - which is naturally present in
the wine-making process but is now introduced in the form of specially made
yeast powder - to improve taste, reduce artificial preservatives and

Yeast research is a popular field of study worldwide, said Bauer, as it was
easy to work with, and yeast had a similar cellular structure to that of

"There are about 20 000 scientists working on yeast," he said, "but we're
still pretty far from understanding its integrated network of reactions."

Good quality red wine has been shown to lower blood sugar - and therefore
fend off diabetes - while increasing the level of good cholesterol, said Dr
David van Velden, who is leading another wine research team from the Medical
Research Council and Stellenbosch and Cape Town universities.

The health benefits of moderate wine drinking are accepted by the scientific
world, Van Velden said, but it had also been found that wine drinkers tended
to lead healthier lifestyles than drinkers of beer and spirits.

"They tend to be more sophisticated - to drink slower, eat better, cut out
smoking and exercise more - compared with the beer-drinking,
braaivleis-and-Chevrolet typical South African."


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