||Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM
Herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, cinnamon and clove do more than
add pleasing flavors and aromas to familiar foods. The oils from these
plants, or compounds extracted from those oils, pack a powerful,
antimicrobial punch--strong enough to help quell such foodborne
pathogens as Escherichia coli O157:H7.
That's according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Mendel
Friedman, who several years ago evaluated the bacteria-bashing power of
these and dozens of other plant compounds.
Now, some of the compounds that Friedman and co-investigators
determined were the strongest combatants of E. coli, Salmonella
enterica, Campylobacter jejuni, or Listeria monocytogenes in the 2002
study are being tapped for new research focused on food safety.
For example, Friedman, research leader Tara H. McHugh, and other
scientists at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany,
Calif., are evaluating the highest-ranking botanical bactericides as
potential ingredients in what are known as edible films.
A thin, pliable, edible film for the future might be made of puréed
spinach spiked with carvacrol, the compound responsible for oregano's
ranking as a top fighter of E. coli in the Friedman study.
The scientists want to find out whether adding small squares of
carvacrol-enhanced spinach purée film to bags of chilled, ready-to-eat
spinach leaves would help protect this salad green against E. coli.
Friedman is also exploring other new uses of the top-rated botanicals
from the earlier study. That investigation, which he conducted with
technician Philip R. Henika and research leader Robert E. Mandrell at
Albany, was the most extensive of its kind at the time it was
published. Also notable was the common basis of comparison, which the
team established by inventing new methods to prepare and test all of
the samples. For even more consistency, the scientists used the same
bacterial strains--from the same suppliers--throughout the
Read more about the research in the July 2008 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:
ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Marcia Wood, (301) 504-1662, [email protected]
July 14, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
© 2004-2008 by foodconsumer.org unless otherwise specified
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