Beyond breakfast: Maple syrup can help combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Laboratory experiments performed by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, found a concentrated maple syrup extract makes antibiotics more effective against disease-causing bacteria.

McGill Professor Nathalie Tufenkji, PhD, and the McGill Department of Chemical Engineering research team prepared a concentrated extract of maple syrup that consists mainly of phenolic compounds. They then tested the extract's effect on infection-causing strains of bacteria, including Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis, bacteria that frequently causes urinary tract infections.

The study findings suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes' susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage. The scientists also found the extract influences the gene expression of the bacteria by repressing a number of genes linked with antibiotic resistance and virulence.

According to Dr. Tufenkji, the team would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before being able to figure out what the effect would be in humans.

"But the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage," said Dr. Tufenkji. "I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics."



More articles on antibiotic resistance:
8 recent stories on antibiotic resistance
Is the solution to antibiotic resistance using more antibiotics?
Growing an antimicrobial stewardship program: A case study at Boston Medical Center

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