Printer Friendly

Bacteria, this spud's for you.

To stop bacteria from making you ill, you may not have to kill them. Just don't let them stick around, suggest Marjorie M. Cowan of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and her colleagues.

They've been studying the common potato, which people have used for centuries to combat skin infections. Other scientists have found potato compounds that kill bacteria, but Cowan's group wondered whether tubers also contain substances that prevent microbes from adhering to cells. Indeed, the team found that extracts of material from just under the potato skin block bacterial adhesion. A compound called polyphenol oxidase (PPO), prevalent in potatoes and other plants, may be responsible. "It's a plant defense mechanism against fungi and insects," says Cowan. She calls for pharmaceutical companies, which often screen plants for bacteria-killing agents, to also look for compounds that inhibit bacterial adhesion.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:potatoes and bacteria
Author:J.T.
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 10, 2000
Words:138
Previous Article:Viral enzyme tackles strep throat.
Next Article:Tsunami! At Lake Tahoe?
Topics:


Related Articles
Frost-free bacteria lawsuit.
Through the eyes of a potato: scientists hunt a better-bred spud, while the earthy vegetable keeps on giving.
New strain of high-starch potatoes.
Taters for tots provide an edible vaccine.
One Potato, Two Potato.
Pass the Genes, Please.
Novel sensing system catches the dud spud.
Monsanto drops its biotech potato. (Environmental Intelligence).

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters