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Muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. Its recognized range in the United States extends from New York south to Florida, and west to Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. They are well adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties and they thrive on summer heat.

The muscadine berries range from bronze to dark purple to black in color when ripe. They have skin sufficiently tough that eating the raw fruit often involves biting a small hole in the skin to suck out the pulp inside. Muscadines are not only eaten fresh, but also are used in making wine, juice, and jelly.

Muscadine grapes are rich sources of polyphenols and other nutrients studied for their potential health benefits.[1] Reports have indicated that muscadine grapes may contain high concentrations of resveratrol — a polyphenol with reported beneficial health effects — and that wines produced from these grapes, both red and white, may contain more than 40 mg/L of resveratrol.[2][3] However, subsequent studies have found no or little resveratrol in different varieties of muscadine grapes.


Vitis rotundifolia.jpg  Muscadine distribution trans1.png




Although in the same genus Vitis with the other grapevine species, muscadines belong to a separate subgenus, Muscadinia (the other grapevine species belong to subgenus Vitis), and some have suggested giving it standing as a genus of its own. Some taxonomists have also suggested splitting two additional species off from Vitis rotundifolia, Vitis munsoniana and Vitis popenoei. All have 40 chromosomes, rather than 38, are generally not cross-compatibile with other Vitis species, and most hybrids between the subgenera are sterile. A few, however, are at least moderately fertile, and have been used in breeding.


There are over 300 muscadine cultivars growing in the southern states. These include bronze, black and red varieties and consist of common grapes and patented grapes.[6]

Unlike most cultivated grapevines, many muscadine cultivars are pistillate, requiring a pollenizer to set fruit. A few, however, such as 'Carlos' and 'Noble', are perfect-flowered, produce fruit with their own pollen, and may also pollinate pistillate cultivars.[citation needed]

Cultivars include Black Beauty, Carlos, Cowart, Fry, Granny Val, Ison, James, Jumbo, Magnolia, Nesbitt, Summit, Supreme.[6][7] Produced by the University of Florida, the cultivar, 'Southern Home', contains both muscadine and subgenus Vitis in its background.

Crops can be started in 3-5 years. Commercial yields of 3–7 tonnes per hectare (8-18 tons per acre) are possible. Muscadines grow best in fertile sandy loam and alluvial soils. They grow wild in well-drained bottom lands that are not subject to extended drought or waterlogging. They are also resistant to pests and diseases, including Pierce's disease, which can destroy other grape species. Muscadine is one of the grape species most resistant to Phylloxera, an insect that can kill roots of grapevines.[8]


Muscadines have been used for making commercial fine wines and port wines dating back to the 16th Century in and around St. Augustine, Florida. Today, vineyards throughout the Southeast produce muscadine wines of various qualities. The typical muscadine wine is sweet because vintners traditionally add sugar during the winemaking process; the wine is often considered a dessert wine although some drier varieties exist. The term scuppernong refers to a large bronze type of muscadine originally grown in North Carolina; it is also used in making wine, principally dry red table wine.

While not one of the most widely marketed varietals produced, the visibility of muscadine wine has benefited from the discovery that it appears to provide greater amounts of antioxidants than many better-known red wines. In particular, muscadine wines (both red and white) contain over five times more resveratrol than ordinary red wines: more than 40 mg/L compared to between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L.[9][10]

Because grape vines synthesize resveratrol as a defense, it has been claimed in sales literature that the use of pesticides greatly reduces the grape's resveratrol content;[11] however, scientific studies either find no correlation between pesticide use and resveratrol,[12] or find that pesticide use has only a weak effect.[13]


Appellations producing Muscadine wines:[14]

  • America (Country Appellation)
  • Alabama (State Appellation)
  • Arkansas (State Appellation)
  • Florida (State Appellation)
  • Georgia (State Appellation)
  • Louisiana (State Appellation)
  • Mississippi (State Appellation)
  • North Carolina (State Appellation)
  • South Carolina (State Appellation)
  • Tennessee (State Appellation)
  • Texas (State Appellation)

Other products

Other traditional Southern US muscadine-derived food products are readily available: jelly, preserves, syrup, and sauce. The fresh grape is available in season, September and October.[15] The juice is available, white and colored. Raisins are used to make the wine (scuppernong), but are not generally available. Pomace/purée and sauce might be the most concentrated forms as a source of resveratrol.[citation needed]

Although muscadine-derived products are sold as source of resveratrol, they have become eclipsed by knotweed, a cheaper and more concentrated source. Muscadine grape seeds and skins contain high concentratons of antioxidants. Often grape derivatives are included in supplements for the sake of appearance, with knotweed supplying the bulk of the resveratrol.[16]

The wild progenitor of the muscadine grape still grows freely in southeastern USA. This one from Indiantown, South Carolina
The wild progenitor of the muscadine grape still grows freely in southeastern USA. This one from Indiantown, South Carolina


Resveratrol and other polyphenols

As muscadine grapes are notable for their highly pigmented, thick skins in which the content of polyphenols is known to be high[1], research interest in describing these phytochemicals is significant.

Resveratrol is produced by many plants, apparently due to its antifungal properties. It is found in widely varying amounts in grapes (primarily the skins). Ordinary non-muscadine red wine contains between 0.2 and 5.8 mg/L,[10] depending on the grape variety, while white wine has much less - the reason being that red wine is fermented with the skins, allowing the wine to absorb the resveratrol, whereas white wine is fermented after the skin has been removed. Wines produced from muscadine grapes, both red and white, may contain more than 40 mg/L.[9]

In grapes, resveratrol is found primarily in the skin and seeds. This is particularly true for muscadine grapes, whose skin and seeds have been reported to have about one hundred times the concentration as the pulp.[3] The amount found in grape skins also varies with the grape cultivar, its geographic origin, and exposure to fungal infection. The amount of fermentation time a wine spends in contact with grape skins is an important determinant of its resveratrol content.[17] According to "Le Blanc et al., 2006", muscadine table wines contain between 9 and 32 mg/L of cis resveratrol and between 5 and 13 mg/L trans resveratrol.[3]

Several studies have detected substantial amounts of resveratrol in Muscadine berries and seeds.[3] Concentrations for the berries without seeds have been reported to range from 3 to 24 ppm (parts per million) in dried samples. Containing an average of 43 ppm, the high seed concentration of resveratrol could be significant during muscadine wine making when the fermenting wine is in contact with seeds. Muscadine pomace, the solids left after pressing, contained 18 to 84 ppm in dried samples. A purée made from the pomace with the seeds removed contained 10 to 62 ppm. Muscadine wine was reported to have from 0.7 to 2 mg/L resveratrol for red wines and 0.3 to 1 mg/L resveratrol for white wine. For juices, resveratrol was found in concentrations ranging from 3 to 13 mg/L.[3] While initial reports have indicated that muscadine grapes could contain high concentrations of resveratrol,[2][3] subsequent studies have found no or little resveratrol in different varieties of muscadine grapes.[4][5]

Other muscadine polyphenols include:[18][19][1]

  • anthocyanins such as delphinidin and petunidin
  • tannins
  • quercetin
  • catechins and epicatechin (particularly in seeds)
  • gallic acid
  • ellagic acid (particularly in skin)
  • ellagic acid glycosides
  • ellagitannins
  • myricetin (particularly in leaves)
  • kaempferol

Interestingly, the rank order of total phenolic content among muscadine components was found to be seeds >> skins > leaves >> pulp.[1]

Other nutrients

A Mississippi State University nutritionist reported that a purée of muscadine skins and pulp is an excellent source also of dietary fiber, essential minerals and carbohydrates and is low in fat. Muscadine purée powder has more dietary fiber than oat or rice bran.[20]

Anti-cancer evidence

As one of nature's richest sources of polyphenolic antioxidants[1], muscadines have been studied for their potential health benefits which include preliminary evidence for effects against cancer mechanisms. To date, in vitro studies have shown positive effects of muscadine phenolics against blood, colon and prostate cancers.[21][22][23]


  1. ^ a b c d e Pastrana-Bonilla E, Akoh CC, Sellappan S, Krewer G.Phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of muscadine grapes. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Aug 27;51(18):<skype:span class="skype_tb_injection" id="softomate_highlight_0" title="Call this phone number in South Korea with Skype: +825497503" durex="945" context="5497-503" onmouseup="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'0',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" oncontextmenu="javascript:skype_tb_SwitchDrop(this,'0','sms=0',true);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,2,'0',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'0',true,);" onclick="javascript:doRunCMD('call','0',null,0);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,0,'0',true,);" iamrtl="0"><skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgA_flex" id="skype_tb_droppart_0" title="Change country code ..." onmouseup="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'0',1,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'0',2,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'0',1,1);" onclick="javascript:doHandleChdial(this,1,'0',1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'0',0,1);">  <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgFlag" id="skype_tb_img_f0" style="background-image: url(d: OCUME~1jLOCALS~1Temp__SkypeIEToolbar_Cache?a98e444a2cfc8e6580c12ac345staticúmfamfam/KR.gif)">       </skype:span> <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgS" id="skype_tb_img_s0"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_injectionIn" id="skype_tb_text0"><skype:span class="skype_tb_innerText" id="skype_tb_innerText0">5497-503</skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgR" id="skype_tb_img_r0">      <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span></skype:span>. Abstract.
  2. ^ a b Ector BJ, Magee JB, Hegwood CP, Coign MJ., Resveratrol Concentration in Muscadine Berries, Juice, Pomace, Purees, Seeds, and Wines.
  3. ^ a b c d e f LeBlanc MR, Cultivar, juice extraction, ultra violet irradiation and storage influence the stilbene content of Muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.), PhD Dissertation, Department of Horticulture, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, May, 2006
  4. ^ a b Pastrana-Bonilla E, Akoh CC, Sellappan S, Krewer G. "Phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of muscadine grapes". J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Aug 27;51(18):<skype:span class="skype_tb_injection" id="softomate_highlight_1" title="Call this phone number in South Korea with Skype: +825497503" durex="945" context="5497-503" onmouseup="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'1',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" oncontextmenu="javascript:skype_tb_SwitchDrop(this,'1','sms=0',true);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,2,'1',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'1',true,);" onclick="javascript:doRunCMD('call','1',null,0);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,0,'1',true,);" iamrtl="0"><skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgA_flex" id="skype_tb_droppart_1" title="Change country code ..." onmouseup="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'1',1,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'1',2,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'1',1,1);" onclick="javascript:doHandleChdial(this,1,'1',1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'1',0,1);">  <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgFlag" id="skype_tb_img_f1" style="background-image: url(d: OCUME~1jLOCALS~1Temp__SkypeIEToolbar_Cache?a98e444a2cfc8e6580c12ac345staticúmfamfam/KR.gif)">       </skype:span> <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgS" id="skype_tb_img_s1"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_injectionIn" id="skype_tb_text1"><skype:span class="skype_tb_innerText" id="skype_tb_innerText1">5497-503</skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgR" id="skype_tb_img_r1">      <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span></skype:span>. PMID 12926904. quote: "Contrary to previous results, ellagic acid and not resveratrol was the major phenolic in muscadine grapes. The HPLC solvent system used coupled with fluorescence detection allowed separation of ellagic acid from resveratrol and detection of resveratrol." "trans-resveratrol had the lowest concentrations of the detected phenolics, ranging from not detected in two varieties to 0.2 mg/ 100 g of FW (Tables 1 and 2). Our result for resveratrol differed from previous results [Ector et al., 1996] indicating high concentrations. These researchers apparently were not able to separate ellagic acid from resveratrol with UV detection alone."
  5. ^ a b Hudson TS, Hartle DK, Hursting SD, Nunez NP, Wang TT, Young HA, Arany P, Green JE. "Inhibition of Prostate Cancer Growth by Muscadine Grape Skin Extract and Resveratrol through Distinct Mechanisms". Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 1;67(17):8396-405. PMID 17804756. quote: "MSKE [muscadine grape skin extract] does not contain significant quantities of resveratrol and differs from MSEE. To determine whether MSKE contains significant levels of resveratrol and to compare the chemical content of MSKE (skin) with MSEE (seed), HPLC analyses were done. As depicted in Supplementary Fig. S1A and B, MSKE does not contain significant amounts of resveratrol (<1 ?g/g by limit of detection)."
  6. ^ a b Muscadine varieties
  7. ^ Growing Muscadine Grapes in Oklahoma
  8. ^ America's First Grape: The Muscadine
  9. ^ a b Ector BJ, Magee JB, Hegwood CP, Coign MJ (1996). Resveratrol Concentration in Muscadine Berries, Juice, Pomace, Purees, Seeds, and Wines. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 47(1): 57-62
  10. ^ a b Gu X, Creasy L, Kester A, et al., Capillary electrophoretic determination of resveratrol in wines. J Agric Food Chem 47:<skype:span class="skype_tb_injection" id="softomate_highlight_2" title="Call this phone number in South Korea with Skype: +8233233277" durex="945" context="3323-3277" onmouseup="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'2',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" oncontextmenu="javascript:skype_tb_SwitchDrop(this,'2','sms=0',true);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,2,'2',true,);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,1,'2',true,);" onclick="javascript:doRunCMD('call','2',null,0);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:skype_tb_imgOnOff(this,0,'2',true,);" iamrtl="0"><skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgA_flex" id="skype_tb_droppart_2" title="Change country code ..." onmouseup="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'2',1,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmousedown="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'2',2,1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseover="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'2',1,1);" onclick="javascript:doHandleChdial(this,1,'2',1);return skype_tb_stopEvents();" onmouseout="javascript:doSkypeFlag(this,'2',0,1);">  <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgFlag" id="skype_tb_img_f2" style="background-image: url(d: OCUME~1jLOCALS~1Temp__SkypeIEToolbar_Cache?a98e444a2cfc8e6580c12ac345staticúmfamfam/KR.gif)">       </skype:span> <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgS" id="skype_tb_img_s2"> </skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_injectionIn" id="skype_tb_text2"><skype:span class="skype_tb_innerText" id="skype_tb_innerText2">3323-3277</skype:span></skype:span><skype:span class="skype_tb_imgR" id="skype_tb_img_r2">      <skype:span class="skype_tb_nop"> </skype:span></skype:span></skype:span>, 1999
  11. ^ Regrapex-R sales literature from GMP Nutraceuticals, claiming that resveratrol in wine "is now almost absent due to the use of pesticides".
  12. ^ Dugo, G; Saitta M, Giuffrida D, Vilasi F, La Torre GL (2004). "Determination of resveratrol and other phenolic compounds in experimental wines from grapes subjected to different pesticide treatments". Italian Journal of Food Science 16 (3): 305–321. Chiriotti, Pinerolo, ITALIE. ISSN 1120-1770. Retrieved on 2006-12-22. 
  13. ^ Daniel, Otto; Meier M, Schlatter J, Frischknecht P (February 1999). "Selected Phenolic Compounds in Cultivated Plants: Ecologic Functions, Health Implications, and Modulation by Pesticides". Environmental Health Perspectives 107 (Suppl 1): 109–114. doi:10.2307/3434477. Retrieved on 2006-12-22. 
  14. ^ "Appellations Growing Muscadine Grapes". Appellation America. Retrieved on 2007-12-01.
  15. ^ Muscadine Produce
  16. ^ Resveratrol News, Forum & Blogs
  17. ^ Roy H, Lundy S. Resveratrol. In: Pennington Nutrition Series, No. 7, 2005
  18. ^ Talcott ST, Lee JH. Ellagic acid and flavonoid antioxidant content of muscadine wine and juice. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 May 22;50(11):3186-92.
  19. ^ Lee JH, Johnson JV, Talcott ST. Identification of ellagic acid conjugates and other polyphenolics in muscadine grapes by HPLC-ESI-MS. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jul 27;53(15):6003-10.
  20. ^ United States Department of Agriculture: America's First Grape - The Muscadine
  21. ^ Mertens-Talcott SU, Percival SS. Ellagic acid and quercetin interact synergistically with resveratrol in the induction of apoptosis and cause transient cell cycle arrest in human leukemia cells. Cancer Lett. 2005 Feb 10;218(2):141-51. Abstract.
  22. ^ Mertens-Talcott SU, Lee JH, Percival SS, Talcott ST. Induction of cell death in Caco-2 human colon carcinoma cells by ellagic acid rich fractions from muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia). J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jul 26;54(15):5336-43. Abstract.
  23. ^ Hudson TS, Hartle DK, Hursting SD, Nunez NP, Wang TT, Young HA, Arany P, Green JE. Inhibition of prostate cancer growth by muscadine grape skin extract and resveratrol through distinct mechanisms. Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 1;67(17):8396-405. Abstract.

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