This book addresses the role of bioactive compounds in wine and
their beneficial or harmful effects on human health. The presence
of bioactive compounds in wine is related to several factors like
grape varieties, agroecological conditions of vineyards (terroir),
the vinification process, special winemaking procedures, microbial
metabolism related to the fermentative process, and other
additional procedures like aging. Some bioactive compounds of wine,
like peptides and phenolic compounds, are associated with
beneficial effects on human health. However, another group of
bioactive compounds can produce negative effects in health, like
biogenic amines and mycotoxins. In general, bioactive peptides in
wine derive from enzymatic microbial hydrolyses of grape proteins,
yeast autolysis and bacterial nitrogenous metabolism on protein or
poly-peptidic substrates. In wine, several recent studies address
the role of peptides in the antihypertensive and antioxidant
activities. However, wine polyphenols are considered the main
responsible molecules present in wine to have beneficial effects on
cardiac health and atherosclerosis, including neurological and
carcinogenic illnesses. These benefits have been attributed to the
antioxidant activity of these compounds. The study of the use of
products and by-products generated in wine processes, which can be
used in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries, is also
an interesting topic addressed in this book. Additionally, this
book examines the occurrence of biogenic amines in wines, which are
nitrogen compounds that can exert negative effects on human health.
Biogenic amines have been suggested as indicators of poor quality
or sanitary conditions in wines, and their formation is frequently
associated with metabolism of lactic acid bacteria involved in the
winemaking process. The reduction of biogenic amines content in
wine is an interesting topic nowadays, because the consumers demand
products that do not contain toxic substances affecting their
health. Finally, the topic about fungal diseases and contamination
of grapes and wine with mycotoxins is addressed. The intake of
mycotoxins above certain levels can produce toxic effects in humans
and animals, from allergic responses to immunosuppression and
cancer. Some mycotoxins are present only in the fungus, whereas
others are excreted. Regarding wine, Ochratoxin A is the most
relevant mycotoxin, being the main source of contamination in
grapes with Aspergillus carbonarius and Aspergillus niger.
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