BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A team of Canadian scientists is testing the efficacy of maple syrup in combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They want to see if they can use components from maple syrup to reduce the resistance to antibiotics of certain disease-producing bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that around 23,000 Americans die every year from infections with bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Thus, scientists thought of an unusual way of solving the problem. They decided to test some chemicals from maple syrup, called phenols, which were found to make common antibiotics more effective.
Phenols boost the antibiotic activity
Maple syrup contains sugar and a lot of nutrients. Sugar is responsible with the sweet taste, but the other substances in the syrup can have a lot of uses. Phenols are antioxidants which can also be found in wine. Scientists took these antioxidants and looked if they can have medicinal uses.
Thus, they mixed the phenols with antibiotics and then looked if they are more effective against bacteria. They tested them on flies, which received food containing the pathogen and a dose of the antibiotic, both with and without phenols. They discovered that the phenols helped the antibiotics penetrate the cells of the bacteria more easily.
Those flies which had received an antibiotic dose with phenols survived for a longer time than those which had taken a phenol-free dose. Therefore, phenols might actually be effective. Now, scientists are planning to perform the same tests on mice.
The research sounds promising
Scientists presented their research at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, which took place in San Francisco on Sunday. We could say that the meeting had a theme, as many other studies involving maple syrup were presented. Some of them were even funded by the Federation of Maple Syrup Producers from Quebec.
At the moment, researchers cannot say if their research will prove useful for humans, too. However, it is a big step ahead. If phenols from the syrup turn antibiotics into super-drugs, we might soon be able to take smaller doses and still combat the infections.
Also, we might develop more advanced antibiotics. These might be used to kill only the harmful bacterial cells and leave the other cells unharmed. Powerful antibiotics maybe can destroy these bacteria before they can evolve into antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
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