Extracts of Common Spices May Prevent the Production of E. Coli O157 Toxin

September 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO – Researchers found that a common kitchen spice contains an active component that reduces the deadliness of the Escherichia coli O157 toxin, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists. E. coli O157 toxins cause abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, acute renal failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Scientists from the University of Tokushima in Japan studied extracts of 20 different kitchen spices, including allspice, anise seed, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and clove and their effects on the growth and production of toxins found in E. coli. Their findings were as follows:

  • Allspice extract exhibited the strongest suppression of toxin production.
  • Eugenol, the active component in allspice, was found to reduce E. coli O157 toxin growth significantly;
  • Clove extract showed slowed or halted E. coli O157 toxin growth but not as significantly as allspice.

“In addition to being a food additive, our results show that eugenol is effective in reducing the virulence of E.coli O157,” says researcher Kumio Yokoigawa.

To receive a copy of the study, please contact Jeannie Houchins at jhouchins@ift.org.


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About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit ift.org.

© 2009 Institute of Food Technologists

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeannie Houchins, MA, RD
312.604.0231
jhouchins@ift.org