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 Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solar Collectors from Ultra-High Performance Concrete Combine Energy Efficiency and Aesthetics

16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News

3D scans for the automotive industry

16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering

Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

16.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>