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Figs Fight Off Food Poisoning

Fruit and its extracts inhibit growth of harmful food microbes

THURSDAY, May 27, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Figs and fig extracts may be able to stop the growth of harmful food microbes such as Escherichia coli and salmonella.

That claim was to be made in a study presentation May 27 at the American Society for Microbiology's general meeting in New Orleans.

Researchers from North Carolina A&T State University sliced and blended figs into a liquid and then added strains of E. coli and salmonella to the liquid. Samples taken after 24 hours showed a reduction in bacterial growth. Liquid control samples not treated with fig juice had increased levels of bacteria.

"These findings can be utilized by the food industry in the future by adding fig extracts, its original and/or modified form, to processed foods. It's active component can also be isolated into pure forms as natural food additives into many food products," researcher Maysoun Salameh said in a prepared statement.

In some countries, figs and fig extracts have been used for many years to treat constipation, bronchitis, wounds, mouth disorders and other ailments.

In a related study also expected to be presented May 27, another group of researchers from the university will present data illustrating the antimicrobial properties of guava extract and its potential use as a food preservative, according to a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about food safety.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, news release, May 27, 2004
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