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The maple syrup in your kitchen can fight superbugs

Superbugs have been a cause of havoc in the medical community for a while and have affected a lot of people worldwide. And now, a common kitchen ingredient could be the most powerful way to fight against them. Scientists in Canada are experimenting with a molecule found in maple syrup, in combination with antibiotics, and they’re getting positive results.

Superbugs are a big problem, because they can make common diseases incurable. This recently released WHO list documents high-risk bacteria from around the world for which antibiotics are needed right now. A primary cause behind this rise is drug overuse, which essentially forces bacteria to evolve, and they slowly become immune to those antibiotics. This happens gradually, and at first higher doses of an antibiotic still work, but eventually, the antibiotic has no effect at all. When a colony of bacteria become resistant to all the different antibiotics that are usually used against them, they’re known as superbugs, and are essentially incurable without new research being done. If only there was some magical way to reduce dosage and also improve efficiency. Using maple syrup is apparently one way of accomplishing that magic.

MRSA
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans.

So what does the maple syrup do?

Phenolic extracts from maple syrup have the ability to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. In a test conducted by the researchers (led by Dr Nathalie Tufenkji) at McGill University, Canada, they found that combining the phenolic extracts with antibiotics led to achieving the same effects with up to 97% fewer antibiotics usage. They tested this on bacterial strains that included E-coli, proteus mirabilis and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Taking the investigation further, the group has tested this combination on fruit flies and moth larvae to find that they lived several days longer compared to the ones treated with just the antibiotics. Further tests are also planned on mice.

Dr Tufenjki has said that she was influenced by the way the native Canadian population uses maple syrup to treat ailments and that is what piqued her curiosity to explore its medicinal effect. The study was presented at the American Chemical Society’s 253rd National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco, CA and is yet to be released in the form of a research paper.

Significance

Several studies have pointed to the fact that superbugs could very quickly become the most serious problem faced by the world – even greater than cancer. In light of that, this and similar developments in medicine and biology could eventually save our lives. If you’re getting excited about taking all your antibiotics with a plateful of pancakes and maple syrup, we’re sorry to have to burst your bubble – it’s not the maple syrup that’s got magical properties, it’s a molecule they extract from the maple syrup that has the ability to increase effectiveness of the antibiotics.

Source: Medical News Today

Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee

A former tech-support desk jockey, you can find this individual delving deep into all things tech, fiction and food. Calling his sense of humour merely terrible would be a much better joke than what he usually makes.