Dr. Woodrow C. Monte’s Methanol Research – University Of Arizona - Part 10

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points out that some neutral spirits contain as much as 1.5 grams/liter of methanol, what is not mentioned is the fact if these spirits are at least 60 proof (30% ethanol) this still represents the presence of over 200 molecules of ethanol for every molecule of methanol that is digested. An exhaustive search of the present literature indicates that no testing of natural substances has ever shown methanol appearing alone; in every case ethanol is also present, usually, in much higher concentrations. Fresh orange juices can have very little methanol (0.8 mg/liter), and have a concomitant ethyl alcohol content of 380 mg/liter. Long term storage in cans has a tendency to cause an increase in these levels, but even after three years of storage, testing has revealed only 62 mg/liter of methanol, with an ethanol content of 484 mg/liter. This is a ratio of almost eight times ethanol/methanol. Testing done recently in Spain showed orange juice with 33 mg/liter methanol and 651 mg/liter ethanol (20/1 ratio). The range for grapefruit juices are similar, ranging form 0.2 mg methanol/liter to 43 mg methanol/liter. The lowest ratio or any food item was found in canned grapefruit sections with 50- 70 mg/liter methanol and 200-400 mg/liter ethanol, thus averaging six molecules ethanol for every molecule of methanol.

This high ethanol to methanol ratio, even a these low ethanol concentrations, may have some protective effect. As stated previously, ethanol slows the rate of methanol's conversion to formaldehyde and formate allowing the body time to excrete methanol in the breath and urine. Inhibition is seen in vitro even when the concentration of ethyl alcohol was only 1/16th that of methanol. The inhibitory effect is a linear function of the log of the ethyl alcohol concentration, with a 72% inhibition rate at only a 0.01 molar concentration of ethanol. Therefore if a liter of a high methanol content orange juice is consumed, with 33 mg/liter of methanol and a 20/1 ratio of ethanol/methanol, only one molecule of methanol in 180 will be metabolized into dangerous metabolites until the majority of the ethanol has been cleared from the bloodstream. If a similar amount of methanol equivalent from aspartame were consumed, there would be no competition.

Another factor reducing the potential danger associated with methanol from natural juices is that they have an average caloric density of 500 Kcal/liter and high osmolarity which places very definite limits to their consumption level and rate.TABLE 1


METHANOL mg/liter METHANOL (MG.) CALORIC DENSITY Calories/Liter RATIO Consumed per 1,000 Calories *Methanol (mg.) Ethanol (wt.) Methanol (wt.) Consumption per day Juices *Orange, fresh28 1 470 2 475 1 *Orange, fresh45 33470 70206 mg *Orange, fresh31 34470 72166 mg *Orange, canned2831470 66156 mg *Grapefruit, fresh27 1 400 1 2000 1 mg *Grapefruit31 43400 108 5 7 mg Grapefruit, Canned31 27400 689 5 mg Grape15 12660 18---- Alcoholic Beverages Beer (4.5%) 0 400 ------ Grain Alcohol55 1 2950 1 500000 -- Bourbon, 100 proof55 552950 199090 -- Rum, 80 proof15 732300 325000 -- Wines


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