Common Spices May Suppress Growth of E. Coli
Researchers found that a common kitchen spice contains an active component that reduces the deadliness of the Escherichia coli O157 toxin, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists. E. coli O157 toxins cause abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, acute renal failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Scientists from the University of Tokushima in Japan studied extracts of 20 different kitchen spices, including allspice, anise seed, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and clove and their effects on the growth and production of toxins found in E. coli. Their findings were as follows:
• Allspice extract exhibited the strongest suppression of toxin production.
• Eugenol, the active component in allspice, was found to reduce E. coli O157 toxin growth significantly;
• Clove extract showed slowed or halted E. coli O157 toxin growth but not as significantly as allspice.
“In addition to being a food additive, our results show that eugenol is effective in reducing the virulence of E.coli O157,” says researcher Kumio Yokoigawa.