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  • Phytoalexins are antimicrobial substances synthesized de novo by plants that accumulate rapidly at areas of incompatible pathogen infection.
  • Phytoalexins are antibiotics produced by plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi
  • Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced naturally by several plants including vines.
  • Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes.
  • Malbec has a thick skin and contains much resveratrol.
  • Vine grapes grown in cooler climates have higher resveratrol levels than those from warmer climes (such as California and Spain).
  • The varieties with most resveratrol in the wine include malbec, petite sirah, st. laurent and pinot noir.
  • Phytoalexins tend to fall into several classes including terpenoids, glycosteroids and alkaloids
  • Phytoalexins produced in plants act as toxins to the attacking organism.
  • They may puncture the cell wall, delay maturation, disrupt metabolism or prevent reproduction of the pathogen
  • When a plant cell recognizes particles from damaged cells or particles from the pathogen, the plant launches a two-pronged resistance: a general short-term response and a delayed long-term specific response.
  • The short-term response, the plant deploys free radicals such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide to kill invading cells.
  • Long-term resistance, or systemic acquired resistance (SAR), involves communication of the damaged tissue with the rest of the plant using plant hormones such as jasmonic acid, ethylene, abscisic acid or salicylic acid.

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