Scientists have shown that tomato juice kills a particular bacteria responsible for Typhoid fever, a debilitating tropical disease, in addition to other bacteria that can harm people’s digestive and urinary tract health.
Salmonella Typhi is a human-specific pathogen often transmitted in food that not only causes all the symptoms of food poisoning but the potentially deadly Typhoid fever, which even after decades of medical advancement is still a major worldwide public health concern.
The team behind the discovery—from Cornell University, New York, set out to discover which antimicrobial peptides in tomato juice made it so effective against Salmonella.
First they checked to see if tomato juice really does kill Salmonella Typhi and once they had confirmed it did, the team looked at the tomato genome to find the antimicrobial peptides that were involved.
The most significant discovery is that tomato juice is effective in eliminating Salmonella Typhi, its hypervirulent variants, and other bacteria that can harm people’s digestive and urinary tract health.
In particular, the team identified 2 antimicrobial peptides that can eliminate these pathogens by impairing the bacterial membrane, a protective layer that surrounds the pathogen and keeps it together.
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Perhaps substantiating the finding is the fact that as far back as February 2018, the FDA has not registered a single instance of a product recall or advisory from a major food company because of Salmonella contamination that involves tomatoes or tomato juice.
The researchers said they hope that when the public learns about the outcome of the study, they will want to eat and drink more tomatoes as well as other fruits and vegetables.
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