Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Spice Of Life: Antibody Cocktail Targets Deadly Foodborne Germs

Date:
March 25, 2003
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
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.

NEW ORLEANS, March 23 — 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).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "The Spice Of Life: Antibody Cocktail Targets Deadly Foodborne Germs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030325072426.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2003, March 25). The Spice Of Life: Antibody Cocktail Targets Deadly Foodborne Germs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030325072426.htm
American Chemical Society. "The Spice Of Life: Antibody Cocktail Targets Deadly Foodborne Germs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030325072426.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins