Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The spice of life: Antibody cocktail targets deadly foodborne germs

24.03.2003


In the future, consumers may be adding a powerful "spice" to their food that could save lives. Researchers in Canada are developing a natural antibody cocktail that can help prevent the most common foodborne germs, including E. coli and Salmonella, which cause thousands to become sick or die each year in this country.



Derived from freeze-dried egg yolk, the substance is nicknamed a spice because it can be sprinkled or sprayed onto meats, fruits and vegetables to complement existing sanitation protocols. The so-called spice does not alter the taste of food.

Food contamination is on the rise in this country and is increasingly seen as a possible means of bioterrorism. One of the pathogens cited by the World Health Organization as a possible agent of bioterrorism is Salmonella, which this spice could protect against, the researchers say.


Research on the compound, which appears promising in early animal tests, was described today at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

"This spice represents a safe, easy and inexpensive way to enhance your protection against deadly germs that attack humans via food. One day, it will be found in everyone’s spice cabinet," says Hoon Sunwoo, Ph.D., chief investigator in the study and a food chemist at the University of Alberta in Canada.

"This spice does not kill the germs, but prevents them from infecting your body," says Sunwoo. The antibody can remain active one to two hours after being ingested. "That buys precious time that can help keep you alive," he adds.

As with the flu vaccine, hens are injected with specific foodborne pathogens, such as E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphyloccoccus and Listeria. The animals then develop antibodies, called IgY (immunoglobulin Y), to these pathogens as their immune system attempts to attack them. These antibodies tend to accumulate in large amounts in the egg yolk, which is then collected, processed and freeze-dried to form a natural, germ-fighting cocktail.

Unlike the flu vaccine, which contains inactive viruses, the antibodies found in the spice are nonliving and pose no risk of infection.

Germs normally target and bind to the intestine, causing infection. In the presence of the antibody cocktail, the germs bind to their corresponding antibodies. The antibody-germ complex is then eliminated as waste, preventing infection.

More tests are needed before the spice is ready for consumer use, the researcher says. If all goes well, human tests could begin within a year, says Sunwoo. Early tests show that the spice can remain active in a freeze-dried condition for up to two years.

The spice will be most useful when traditional sanitation safeguards (i.e. rinsing, refrigeration, and thorough cooking) are unavailable or unreliable, the researcher says. Possible uses: foods that are prepared outdoors or meals that are eaten away from home, especially at salad bars and food bars.

The spice could be helpful for travelers to foreign countries in which food-handling practices are suboptimal. It can even be added to beverages, including water and fruit juice, says Sunwoo.

At the industrial level, the spice can be dissolved in water and sprayed onto meat carcasses to complement other processing methods, such as irradiation, or applied to final packaging. Such extra-protection methods would be welcome news for an industry that has been recently plagued with record-high meat recalls, says Sunwoo.

Although summer is the peak season for food contamination, cases can occur throughout the year. Consumers are urged to continue practicing safe-food handling techniques to reduce their chances of developing foodborne illness. People most vulnerable to serious complications from foodborne illness include infants, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Antibodies can be developed for virtually any foodborne germs, including viruses, the researcher says. One possible candidate is the norovirus, which has recently been linked to a rash of outbreaks of flu-like illnesses on cruise ships.

Funding for this study was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).


###
The paper on this research, AGFD 10, will be presented at 10:25 a.m., Sunday, March 23, at the Hampton Inn-Convention Center, Riverside II, during the symposium, "Immune-Enhancing Foods."

Hoon H. Sunwoo, Ph.D., is a research associate at the University of Alberta, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


— Mark T. Sampson

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>