Muscadine Field Day Presentation — Nutritional Facts about Muscadine Fruit

Dr. Donna Marshall presented on the nutritional facts regarding muscadine berries (see photo below):

Dr. Marshall at the 2012 Muscadine Field Day

Dr. Marshall at the 2012 Muscadine Field Day. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gary Bachman.

Muscadine grapes have several unique and distinguishing chemical characteristics, particularly the presence of ellagic acid.  Ellagic acid is commonly present in other fruits, such as raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry, but is absent in all other Vitis species.   The presence of ellagic acid and its derivatives in plants is of interest and has been widely studied because of its antiproliferative and antioxidant properties. The antiproliferative properties are due to its ability to directly inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens. Ellagic acid also has a chemoprotective effect in cellular models by reducing oxidative stress. Ellagic acid and its derivatives are being aggressively investigated for chemoprevention.  It has been demonstrated that extracts of fruits containing ellagic acid derivatives are more powerful than individual substances. This is because there are multiple phenolic substances in a fruit that can act synergistically with the ellagic acid compounds within the biological processes that involve cancer initiation and growth.  The presence of ellagic acid and quercetin in muscadine grape could add value and marketability to the crop due to the possible health benefits.  The presence of ellagic acid and high total phenolic content, and resveratrol make muscadines an undiscovered superfruit. With the combination of ellagic acid, resveratrol, and flavonols such as quercetin and myrcetin, muscadine grapes are a healthy choice for a whole food snack.