Paul. University of Minnesota researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic - a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria - that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella
, E. coli
The U of M lantibiotic is the first natural preservative found to kill gram-negative bacteria, typically the harmful kind. It could be used to prevent harmful bacteria in meats, processed cheeses, egg and dairy products, canned foods, seafood, salad dressing, fermented beverages and many other foods. In addition to food safety benefits, lantibiotics are easy to digest, nontoxic, do not induce allergies and are difficult for dangerous bacteria to develop resistance against.
The lantibiotic was discovered, while researching the genome of bacteria. The U of M's Office for Technology Commercialization is currently seeking a licensee for the technology.
In wake of the recent deadly salmonella outbreak, it's important for researchers to continue developing methods to protect foods from dangerous bacteria.
and E. coli
, both gram-negative bacteria, account for more than half of all food recalls in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Salmonella
contributes to an estimated 28% of more than 3,000 deaths related to food-borne illness each year.
Source: The University of Minnesota