Salmonella poses a significant threat to public health worldwide. This bacterium is responsible for causing food poisoning, with severe cases leading to typhoid fever. And surprisingly it seems that tomato juice may be the solution.
A research team at Cornell University investigated whether tomatoes and tomato juice could effectively kill several pathogens including Salmonella Typhi. The team conducted a series of cell experiments to determine the antimicrobial properties of tomatoes.
And surprisingly it seems that when Salmonella Typhi was exposed to freshly pulped tomato juice were completely eradicated within 24 hours.
The interesting thing was that it seems it wasn’t simply the juices acidity that was responsible.
The researches indemnified genes encoding small proteins. Called peptides, that functioned as antimicrobial agents from the tomatoes.
Specifically two antimicrobial peptides found in tomatoes had the ability to inhibit the growth of Salmonella Typhi and even eliminate a strain that was resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat typhoid fever, ciprofloxacin.
Unleashing the Power of Tomato Peptides
To understand how the tomato peptides interacted with Salmonella Typhi, the researchers simulated their interactions with bacterial cell membranes. They then used computational modeling and confirmed their hypothesis: the two lead candidate peptides ruptured the cell membranes of Salmonella Typhi within just 45 minutes.
And on top of that they were also effective against Salmonella Typhimurium, a more common, but non-typhoidal strain responsible for non-lethal food poisoning.
While these findings are promising, it is essential to note that they are based on cell experiments.
Therefore it would be a little premature to assume that consuming copious amounts of tomato juice alone will prevent or treat Salmonella infections.
The Role of Food Hygiene
Whilst tomatoes combating Salmonella infections is interesting, the real battle hinges on proper food handling and hygiene practices.
It is crucial to ensure that all foods especially meatsare prepared and stored following good food hygiene methods. This includes thorough washing and avoiding cross-contamination. Incorporating these practices into everyday life can help reduce the risk of illness and food poisoning.