94 research outputs found

    Microorganisms and food safety risks associated with indigenous fermented foods from Africa

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    Indigenous fermented foods (IFFs) have a long history in Africa and are embedded in cultural norms and practices. Typically, these foods are produced at a small or household scale using indigenous processing technologies. In addition, limited knowledge of good manufacturing and handling practices can lead to production under unhygienic conditions. This results in variations in the quality and safety attributes of IFFs, as spoilage and pathogenic bacteria can be introduced at any stage of the value chain. These foods have an important role in the African diet and can contribute to food security by increasing the availability of cheap, nutritious food and supporting livelihoods. However, the presence of foodborne pathogens and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in IFFs may constitute a health risk to consumers. Therefore, this review presents an overview of the microorganisms associated with IFFs from Africa, focusing on microbial food safety hazards. African indigenous fermented foods offer a vast genetic potential of undiscovered strains that possess valuable technical characteristics. However, IFFs may also serve as vehicles of pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genetic determinants. Significant research and data gaps exist regarding the microbiological safety of these food products, which warrant urgent attention. We propose practical solutions for improving the safety of African IFFs requiring action and collaboration from all stakeholders, including researchers, producers, governmental regulatory bodies, and consumers

    A call for action to the biomaterial community to tackle antimicrobial resistance

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    The global surge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major concern for public health and proving to be a key challenge in modern disease treatment, requiring action plans at all levels. Microorganisms regularly and rapidly acquire resistance to antibiotic treatments and new drugs are continuously required. However, the inherent cost and risk to develop such molecules has resulted in a drying of the pipeline with very few compounds currently in development. Over the last two decades, efforts have been made to tackle the main sources of AMR. Nevertheless, these require the involvement of large governmental bodies, further increasing the complexity of the problem. As a group with a long innovation history, the biomaterials community is perfectly situated to push forward novel antimicrobial technologies to combat AMR. Although this involvement has been felt, it is necessary to ensure that the field offers a united front with special focus in areas that will facilitate the development and implementation of such systems. This paper reviews state of the art biomaterials strategies striving to limit AMR. Promising broad-spectrum antimicrobials and device modifications are showcased through two case studies for different applications, namely topical and implantables, demonstrating the potential for a highly efficacious physical and chemical approach. Finally, a critical review on barriers and limitations of these methods has been developed to provide a list of short and long-term focus areas in order to ensure the full potential of the biomaterials community is directed to helping tackle the AMR pandemic

    Natural pigments and colorants in foods and bevarages

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    It is common knowledge that humans are strongly influenced by color. The color phenomenon can have several origins, since dispersion to light absorption, occurring different phenomena that originate a range of colors found in nature. As a matter of fact, color is the first notable characteristic of a food or a beverage and often predetermines our expectation of flavor and taste. In general, consumers recognize colors with natural sources, as yellow of “lemon,” pink of “grapefruit,” red of “strawberries,” and blue of “blueberries.” In the case of beverages, the behavior is quite identical. Since oranges are orange, it is expected that orange-colored drinks present orange flavor. Similarly, red drinks should taste like cherries, and purple drinks should taste like grapes. Indeed, it has been recognized that color constitutes one of the most visual predicates concerning sensory properties, as taste and flavor of food and beverage. Coloring food and beverage is not a new subject matter.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases

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    Green tea is one of the most popular drinks consumed worldwide. Produced mainly in Asian countries from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the potential health benefits have been widely studied. Recently, researchers have studied the ability of green tea to eradicate infectious agents and the ability to actually prevent infections. The important components in green tea that show antimicrobial properties are the catechins. The four main catechins that occur in green tea are (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Of these catechins, EGCG and EGC are found in the highest amounts in green tea and have been the subject of most of the studies. These catechins have been shown to demonstrate a variety of antimicrobial properties, both to organisms affected and in mechanisms used. Consumption of green tea has been shown to distribute these compounds and/or their metabolites throughout the body, which allows for not only the possibility of treatment of infections but also the prevention of infections

    An Update on the Health Benefits of Green Tea

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    Green tea, which is produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. Over the past 30 years or more, scientists have studied this plant in respect to potential health benefits. Research has shown that the main components of green tea that are associated with health benefits are the catechins. The four main catechins found in green tea are: (−)-epicatechin (EC), (−)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), (−)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Of these four, EGCG is present in the largest quantity, and so has been used in much of the research. Among the health benefits of green tea are: anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, and benefits in cardiovascular disease and oral health. Research has been carried out using various animal models and cells lines, and is now more and more being carried out in humans. This type of research will help us to better understand the direct benefits of green tea. This review will focus primarily on research conducted using human subjects to investigate the health benefits of green tea

    Antimicrobial Mechanisms of <i>Escherichia coli</i>

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    Increasing antimicrobial resistance in strains of Escherichia coli is having a major impact on the healthcare industry worldwide. The appearance of extended-spectrum ÎČ-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) strains has caused clinicians to worry that these strains might become as deadly as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. It is vital that physicians have resources available to help keep them updated on these bacteria and the potential impact on healthcare. This chapter reviews the major strains of E. coli (intestinal and urinary), along with a review of the virulence factors, main diseases caused, and pertinent pathogenesis. The chapter then discusses antimicrobial therapy, what drugs are effective against these E. coli strains, and the development of resistance to these specific drug classes. Lastly, the molecular aspects of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in this organism are discussed. This information will be especially helpful for physicians in providing them with a concise review of E. coli and an understanding of what is involved in antimicrobial resistance. Hopefully this information can be used to improve the outcomes for patients with E. coli infections

    Medicinal plants - prophylactic and therapeutic options for gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in calves and piglets? A systematic review.

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    BACKGROUND Gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in calves and piglets lead to significant economic losses in livestock husbandry. A high morbidity has been reported for diarrhea (calves ≀ 35 %; piglets ≀ 50 %) and for respiratory diseases (calves ≀ 80 %; piglets ≀ 40 %). Despite a highly diverse etiology and pathophysiology of these diseases, treatment with antimicrobials is often the first-line therapy. Multi-antimicrobial resistance in pathogens results in international accordance to strengthen the research in novel treatment options. Medicinal plants bear a potential as alternative or additional treatment. Based on the versatile effects of their plant specific multi-component-compositions, medicinal plants can potentially act as 'multi-target drugs'. Regarding the plurality of medicinal plants, the aim of this systematic review was to identify potential medicinal plant species for prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases and for modulation of the immune system and inflammation in calves and piglets. RESULTS Based on nine initial sources including standard textbooks and European ethnoveterinary studies, a total of 223 medicinal plant species related to the treatment of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases was identified. A defined search strategy was established using the PRISMA statement to evaluate 30 medicinal plant species starting from 20'000 peer-reviewed articles published in the last 20 years (1994-2014). This strategy led to 418 references (257 in vitro, 84 in vivo and 77 clinical trials, thereof 48 clinical trials in veterinary medicine) to evaluate effects of medicinal plants and their efficacy in detail. The findings indicate that the most promising candidates for gastrointestinal diseases are Allium sativum L., Mentha x piperita L. and Salvia officinalis L.; for diseases of the respiratory tract Echinacea purpurea (L.) MOENCH, Thymus vulgaris L. and Althea officinalis L. were found most promising, and Echinacea purpurea (L.) MOENCH, Camellia sinensis (L.) KUNTZE, Glycyrrhiza glabra L. and Origanum vulgare L. were identified as best candidates for modulation of the immune system and inflammation. CONCLUSIONS Several medicinal plants bear a potential for novel treatment strategies for young livestock. There is a need for further research focused on gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in calves and piglets, and the findings of this review provide a basis on plant selection for future studies