Original Paper

Food and Environmental Virology

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 168-178

First online:

Effect of pH on Anti-Rotavirus Activity by Comestible Juices and Proanthocyanidins in a Cell-Free Assay System

  • Steven M. LipsonAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Health Promotion, St. Francis College Email author 
  • , Fatma S. OzenAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Health Promotion, St. Francis CollegeSelcuk University
  • , Laina KarthikeyanAffiliated withNew York City College of Technology, CUNY
  • , Ronald E. GordonAffiliated withMount Sinai Medical Center

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Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and grape (Vitis labrusca) juices, and these species’ secondary plant metabolites [i.e., proanthocyanidins (PACs)] possess antiviral activity. An understanding of the mechanism(s) responsible for these juices and their polyphenolic constituents’ direct effect on enteric virus integrity, however, remains poorly defined. Using the rotavirus (RTV) as a model enteric virus system, the direct effect of manufacturer-supplied and commercially purchased juices [Ocean Spray Pure Cranberry 100 % Unsweetened Juice (CJ), Welch’s 100 % Grape Juice (GJ), 100 % Concord (PG) and 100 % Niagara juices (NG)] and these species’ cranberry (C-PACs) and grape PACs (G-PACs) was investigated. Loss of viral capsid integrity in cell-free suspension by juices and their PACs, and as a factor of pH, was identified by an antigen (RTV) capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. At native and an artificially increased suspension at or near pH 7, loss of viral infectivity occurred after 5 min, in the order CJ > NG = GJ > PG, and PG > GJ = NG = CJ, respectively. Antiviral activity of CJ was inversely related to pH. Grape, but not cranberry PACs, displayed a comparatively greater anti-RTV activity at a suspension pH of 6.7. Anti-RTV activity of C-PACs was regained upon reduction of RTV-cranberry PAC suspensions to pH 4. An alteration or modification of Type A PAC (of V. macrocarpon) structural integrity at or near physiologic pH is suggested to have impacted on this molecule’s antivirus activity. Type B PACs (of V. labrusca) were refractive to alternations of pH. Significantly, findings from pure system RTV–PAC testing paralleled and in turn, supported those RTV-juice antiviral studies. Electron microscopy showed an enshroudment by PACs of RTV particles, suggesting a blockage of viral antigenic binding determinants. The implications of our work are significant, especially in the interpretation of PAC (and PAC-containing food)–RTV interactions in the differing [pH] conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.


Rotavirus antigen Juices Proanthocyanidins pH