Saturday, 25 December 2010

Antibacterial rowan berries

People in both Finland and Scotland value the berries of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) for making drinks, preserves and as flavourings.  A team of scientists from the University of Helsinki and the Scottish Crop Research Institute have analysed the composition and bioactivity of phenolic compounds found in the fruit of the wild rowan and four hybrid cultivars and published their results in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The study shows the phenolic compounds, mostly caffeoylquinic acids, have a marked inhibitory effect on some of the commonest bacteria, such as E. coli, associated with human disorders.

An abstract of the paper is available here:

The hybrid rowans, known as sweet rowans, have, I think, mostly been developed in Russia and the four studied were Burka, (Sorbus aucuparia x {Sorbus aria x Aronia arbutifolia}), Granatnaja (Sorbus aucuparia x Crataegus sanguinea), Titan or Titaan, (Burka x Malus sp. x Pyrus sp.) and Zoltaja (Sorbus aucuparia x Pyrus sp.).

There are several more of these rowan hybrids as, for example, detailed here:

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I noticed u had commented on my blog post, here's the reply;

    Sorbus was fortified fruit wine aka. wine + sorbus-juice. Alcohol concentration was something around 15%. It came to market after probation in Finland somewhere in the 1930′s. After rationing of alcohol ended in Finland, guys who drank surrogate alcohol like wiper fluids they just changed to cheapest of what you could find from Alko (national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly). It was marketed as a aperitif but since 0,7l bottle was around 5-6€, it was mostly drank by alcoholists. It wasn’t really good but damn you got really drunk if you drank that. I think it was also drank by students back in the days and it is also somehow connected to Finnish labour day. This was something I could gather up quickly, just ask if u have any more questions. Sorbus flavoured beer sounds very nice! Sorry for a late reply.