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Makgeolli beats wine for cancer fighting compound

Makgeolli, Korean rice wine, contains up to 25 times more farnesol, a compound with anti-tumor properties, research showed Thursday.

Farnesol is an alcohol found in a number of substances including essential oils. Research has shown that farnesol has potent anti-tumor properties even in concentrations as low as 5 milligrams per liter.

In the latest research, a team led by Korea Food Research Institute’s Ha Jae-ho used magnets coated with farnesol-specific nano-particles to detect farnesol in alcoholic beverages available on the local market including beers, wine and makgeolli.

The results showed makgeolli’s farnesol content to be between 150 and 500 parts per million, which is 10 to 25 times higher than that of beers and wines. Some makgeollis were found to have as much as 50 times more farnesol than other alcoholic beverages.

The farnesol content of beer and wines ranges from 15 parts per billion to 20 parts per billion.

Ha’s research also showed that the sediment found in makgeolli contained higher concentration of farnesol than the liquid part.

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