In a study funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board, Christine Wu of the University of Illinois in Chicago found that extracts from raisins could slow the growth in a laboratory of Streptococcus mutans, the main bacterial species implicated in tooth decay. Five chemicals in raisins – oleanolic acid, oleanolic aldehyde, betulin, betulinic acid, and 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furfural – seem to be responsible for the effect. Wu says that her team’s next step will be whether raisins have a similar bacteria-suppressing effect in people’s mouth. — (Science News, 2005)