Figs fight food bugs

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Microbiology, Food processing, Bacteria

More research this week from the meeting of the American Society
for Microbiology suggests that figs and fig extracts could be used
to inhibit the survival and growth of harmful microbes in food.

Fig extracts have been used for years to fight various ailments such as constipation, bronchitis, mouth disorders and wounds, according to researchers from North Carolina A&T State. The extracts are even used in the latex used in ridding patients of warts, they said.

Given this precedent, the researchers wanted to assess whether figs had any further potential uses, focusing in particular on the antimicrobial effect of fig extracts on common foodborne diseases E.coli and Salmonella.

The figs were sliced and blended into liquid after which strains of E.coli and Salmonella were added to the solution. After an incubation period of up to twenty-four hours, results showed a reduction in bacterial growth. Control samples not treated with fig juice revealed an increase in bacteria.

"These findings can be utilised by the food industry in the future by adding figs extracts, its original and/or modified liquid form, to processed foods,"​ said M Salameh, the lead author of the studyt.

"Its active component can also be isolated into pure forms as natural food additives into many food products."

In a related study also presented at the meeting this week, another group of researchers from North Carolina A&T reported that guava extract also has antimicrobial properties and a potential use as an all natural food preservative.

Related topics: R&D

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