By Girish Panicker, PhD, CPAg, CCA
Director, Center for Conservation Research Alcorn State University, Alcorn, MS
Muscadines were named for their aromatic flavors from the French word Muscatel.
Muscadines are rich in antioxidant phytonutrients. Extracts from Muscadine cut the growth of breast cancer cell lines and cervical cancer cell lines.
What is an antioxidant? Antioxidant is any substance, that when present at low concentrations compared to those of an oxidizable substrate significantly delays or prevents the oxidations of substrates.
Resveratrol is the compound in wines said to lower cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease. Resveratrol is found in the skin, pulp, and seeds of Muscadine grapes. Resveratrol from Muscadine grapes has anticarcinogenic activity, meaning that it inhibits tumor promotion. Muscadine grape seeds and skins contain higher levels of total antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetables. Flavanols and polyphenols in muscadine grape seeds and skins slow sugar absorption, increase the activity of insulin, and tend to reduce blood sugar.
The grape contains natural fruit acids, like malic acid as in apples, and these acids slow absorption of sugars.
Muscadines contain ellagic acid, a natural organic compound thought to inhibit the start of cancer. Ellagic acid prevents mutogenesis, the process that initiates cancer. Ellagic acid is chemopreventive; chemoprevention eliminates the need for chemotherapy. Chemoprevention is the final solution to reduce the incidence and lethality of various cancers. Muscadine berries contain 50% pulp, 40% grape skins, and 10% seeds. The phenolic antioxidants are concentrated in the skins and seeds. Powdered Muscadine puree has more dietary fiber than oat or rice bran. Muscadine waste from juice processing is used to make muffins, jams and granola cereal.
Muscadine puree powder is very effective in elevating good cholesterol (HDL). Muscadine skins and pulp are excellent sources of resveratrol, dietary fiber and some essential minerals, high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. The major value-added products from muscadine are juice, wine and jelly. You can make two and half gallons of wine from 50 pounds of fruits. One Muscadine plant can produce 80 to 100 pounds of fruits! One acre can produce more than 12,000 pounds of fruits. 1000 acres of Muscadine would create 56 to 62 additional jobs in related business, or more than half a million dollars in income from the farm investment alone.
Muscadine, a native crop of the southeast, can withstand high heat and humidity, resistance to insects and diseases, and hence, it is strongly recommended for organic production.
Read more about the IWTT Project: GenEva's Fruit.
Statements made about Muscadine grapes and their products are from published papers and they have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. You are advised to consult with a physician prior to making any decisions or undertaking any actions. The author will not be responsible for any decision made due to your reading of this article.