Most of the time, maple syrup is deliciously sloshed all over our pancakes.
However, a group of researchers at the Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University, Canada (rather fitting given Canada’s love of the sticky stuff), have discovered another use for it.
Maple syrup can render bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics.
The syrup, which is produced by concentrating the sap from North American maple trees, is a rich source of phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties.
And it is these antioxidant properties that prompted the team, led by Professor Nathalie Tufenkji, investigate the potential of maple syrup.
The team began by removing a concentrated extract from the syrup. They tested this extract on several infection-causing strains of bacteria, including E. coli and Proteus mirabilis (a common cause of urinary tract infection).
The syrup was mildly effective combating the bacteria on its own. However, once mixed with the antibiotics the maple syrup was particularly effective; seemingly synchronising its assault with the pharmaceutical ingredient.
Continue reading Maple syrup magnifies antibiotic attack (Day 336)
I hope you have had the opportunity to read my blog recently called the threat of living 20 years less.
The blog raised the spectre of dramatically reduced life spans, due to growing resistance to antibiotics.
The search is now on for a solution in the shape of a ‘diagnostic test that will significantly reduce the incorrect use of antibiotics across the world’.
But there are other lines of work, some of which have been under way for a while, seeking different solutions.
One of these is to increase our understanding of ‘natural’ interventions – like the food we we eat – to reduce the risk of infections in the first place.
If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), you’ll know they can be painful and uncomfortable. They usually pass within a few days or can be treated with a course of antibiotics (if not resistant).
When you consider that half of all women in the UK will have a UTI at least once in their life, and, to illustrate the numbers in a different way, 13,000 UK men are likely to need treatment every year, it is easy to see how prevention is better than cure.
Continue reading Super and fruity (Day 180)
The World Health Organization estimates that antibiotic treatments add an average of 20 years to all of our lives.
But life spans are now under threat caused by the rise of antimicrobial resistance, which is threatening to make antibiotics less effective in the future.
In in the 80 years since the discovery of penicillin, our overuse of antibiotics has put pressure on bacteria to evolve resistance, leading to the emergence of untreatable superbugs that threaten the basis of modern medicine.
It’s a challenge that has prompted the re-creation of the 300 hundred year-old Longitude Prize 2014, which is offering a £10 million (US$15.8m) prize fund to help solve the problem of global antibiotic resistance. Continue reading The threat of living 20 years less (Day 175)
Our war against infection and disease is ongoing. New bacterial strains are consistently emerging and our current antibiotics are becoming less and less effective at fighting them.
Governments and researchers worldwide are searching for new methods to help deal with the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Chemical engineers from the University of Washington have proposed a strategy to block bacterial biofilms forming and thus keep the bacteria in their more readily treatable single-cell form.
Continue reading Blocking bacterial biofilms without antibiotics (Day 157)
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