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My cherimoya, shortly before it became smoothie fodder.

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April 21, 2007

Why not drink your berries?

Sure, everyone knows that strawberries are both good and good for you. But you know what else is extra good and extra good for you? Apparently, strawberries with booze! (Sure, there's all those details about detrimental effects of alcohol. But if you'd have been drinking anyway, why not drop a few strawberries in there and make yourself feel a little better about it?)

Update: Reader bhive1 makes the problematic observation that the article in question doesn't actually say any of those things. (See comments). Luckily, here in Blogger-land we are untroubled by journalistic ethics that might require us to check if the things we report are actually true.

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At 4/22/2007 03:43:00 PM, Blogger bhive01 said...

Phil, I'm not so sure that the article in question really said those things... If you read it, it talks about how pretreatment with methyljasmonate and EtOH prevented decay during postharvest storage. Prevention of decay apparently equates somewhat to preservation of antioxidant capacity.

I don't know how the "media"/innernets picked up this paper like this, but it's not at all what they tested.

I do, however, enjoy me a strawberry daiquiri now and then.


"Free-radical scavenging capacities of strawberries and blackberries treated with methyl jasmonate (MJ), allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea-tree oil or TTO), and ethanol (EtOH) were investigated. All of these natural volatiles tested reduced the severity of decay in both strawberries and blackberries during storage at 10 °C as compared to the control. Most of these compounds enhanced antioxidant capacity and free-radical scavenging capacity, except the AITC treatment. The MJ treatment for strawberries and blackberries had the highest antioxidant capacity, expressed as oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values, after 7 days of storage. Moreover, the MJ treatment promoted the antioxidant capacity in strawberries and blackberries as measured by the radical 2,2-di (4-tert-octylphenyl) -1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and the radical cation 2,2-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS+) scavenging activity in both 7 and 14 days after storage. The MJ treatment also increased scavenging capacities on the superoxide radical (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radical (OH), and singlet oxygen (1O2) in strawberries and blackberries. Treatment with TTO or EtOH enhanced most of these free-radical scavenging capacities, except for H2O2 in strawberries, and for O2- and 1O2 in blackberries. These results indicated that all of the natural volatile compounds tested in this study, except AITC, promoted the antioxidant capacity and scavenging capacity of most major free radicals and, thus, helped to improve the physiology of berry fruits and enhanced their resistance to decay. While AITC was also very effective in reducing decay, its effect on free-radical scavenging capacity was inconsistent, suggesting that additional mechanisms may be involved in its inhibition of fungal growth. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry"

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.2841

At 4/22/2007 06:08:00 PM, Blogger Evil Fruit Lord said...

Look here, I didn't work my way through grad school just to keep reading journal articles! Okay, I probably did. But anything that looks too much like chemistry I avoid when I can.

Seriously, though, you make a good point. Thanks for going the extra step of pulling up the actual article, too, even if it does eliminate a reason to drink strawberry daiquiris.

It's worth noting, too, that there's emerging evidence that although eating fresh fruit has beneficial health effects frequently ascribed to antioxidants, those same antioxidants, when consumed outside of the context of the fruit, don't seem to be especially effective.

Your profile appears to be broken, by the way.

At 4/22/2007 06:14:00 PM, Blogger Evil Fruit Lord said...

And hi, by the way. I didn't recognize you from the square centimeter photo at first. Are you all done now?

At 4/23/2007 08:54:00 AM, Blogger bhive01 said...

Yeah, my profile appears to be in permanent limbo. I tried to edit it to say that I was no longer a graduate student/slave, but blogger keeps giving me an error. I need to update the photo anyway. That one is 4 years old now. How time flies!

In a way, I do wonder how the antioxidant capacity is changed when the berries are "extracted" in 40 proof EtOH. When you measure antioxidant capacity you usually extract in Acetone or EtOH so perhaps it does a good job of preserving the activity. Bioavailability is, of course, another problem...

At 2/22/2008 02:36:00 PM, Anonymous miracle fruit said...

I find that strawberries are the nicest fruit to have in a refreshing smoothie.

At 9/30/2008 06:14:00 AM, Blogger FatHer said...

Toxic chemicals:Strawberries are the most pesticide sprayed fruits.
So choose the lowest sprayed fruits eg bananas etc.

At 10/05/2008 04:55:00 AM, Blogger Evil Fruit Lord said...

The widely quoted "Dirty Dozen" is based on the percentage of fruit with detectable pesticide residues. That's not a meaningful measure of risk.

- Protocols exist to detect many pesticides at levels, far, far below the levels shown to cause harm, even with chronic exposure.

- Not all pesticides are created equal. Organophosphate insecticides are pretty nasty, for example, on the other hand sulphur, which is used as a fungicide, is fairly harmless (at least in quantities you could stomach eating). It's important what the pesticide residues are.

- Different producers have more stringent food safety standards than others.

I'm not saying it's not worth being careful, but people worry way too much about pesticides. There are certainly some nasty chemicals out there (and if you were sprayed with them or drank them you'd be in trouble), but as food residues they're very dilute and hopefully largely degraded by the time they reach consumers. We routinely ingest much worse things in the air, water, and processed foods.

At 10/09/2008 12:19:00 AM, Blogger FatHer said...

Lawn pesticides: http://www.doctorsaredangerous.com/newsletters/july08_02.htm It looks like the pesticides on lawns are worse than those used on fruits.

But...what did the fruit stall owner, in Malaysia, put on the Longan or Duku 'Longhong'fruit?
After about 1-2 kilograms of the fruit the head ached.Maybe the fruit need to be rinsed before eating them,even though the skins were discarded.The juice might have dripped onto the skin and fingers ,and then somehow got into the mouth.
Or a toxic dip/spray might have soaked through the skin into the edible flesh.
Did he dip the fruit in a fungicide or pesticide to prolong the storage in the hot tropical temperatures?
Did he exceed the recommended levels of poison,overspray or soak for too long?

At 10/09/2008 03:29:00 AM, Blogger FatHer said...

LawnLink: This link below is the correct link which was incorrectly given in the previous post. http://www.doctorsaredangerous.com/newsletters/july08_02.htm .

At 10/09/2008 07:24:00 AM, Blogger FatHer said...

This is another attempt at giving the full link:

It should end in : .../july08_02.htm

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