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Use cinnamon to fight E. coli O157:H7.

Studies at Kansas State University (Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, 202 Call Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506) have determined that cinnamon is a lethal weapon against E. coli O157:H7, and that it may be able to control the bacteria in unpasteurized juices. This is what researchers found in laboratory tests on cinnamon and apple juice heavily tainted with the bacteria.

In apple juice samples inoculated with about 1 million E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, about one teaspoon (0.3%) of cinnamon killed 99.5% of the bacteria in three days at room temperature (25 C). When researchers combined the same amount of cinnamon with either 0.1% sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate, the numbers of E. coli were lowered to an undetectable level. The number of bacteria added to test samples was 100 times the number typically found in contaminated food.

This research indicates that the use of cinnamon alone and in combination with preservatives in apple juice might reduce and control E. coli O157:H7. Cinnamon may help protect consumers against foodborne bacteria that may be in unpasteurized juices and may partially or completely replace preservatives in foods to maintain their safety. If cinnamon can inhibit the growth of E. coli O157:H7, it should have antimicrobial effects on other common foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Other common kitchen spices, such as garlic and clove, can kill E. coli O157:H7. Kansas State University scientists have found that several spices are good at killing this strain of E. coli. Garlic, clove, oregano and sage-in addition to cinnamon-each killed the bacteria in varying amounts. In the laboratory, garlic killed the organism completely. Garlic and clove proved best at killing E. coli O157:H7. Garlic was best in the laboratory study, while clove was the best of the spices added directly to ground beef.

Consumers will still have to take care in handling beef and will still have to heat the product. A spice may provide an additional killing effect alongside the heat treatment. The exact combination of spice and heat needs to be tested, however. An additional aspect of the research is to extract the active ingredient in these spices that is killing E. coli O157:H7 and understand how it does it.

Further information. Erdogan Ceylan; phone: 785-587-1801; fax: 785-532-5681.
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Publication:Microbial Update International
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 1, 2000
Previous Article:Acid rinses reduce microbial loads on beef.
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