Air Date: Week of August 11, 2000
Diane Toomey reports on a promising new treatment for bacterial infections as antibiotic-resistant bacteria reach crisis proportions.
TOOMEY: It's a kinder, gentler way to treat bacterial infections. That's the way researchers describe a plant enzyme that prevents bacteria from sticking to cells. Researchers at Miami University in Ohio found a potato extract can prevent both strep and e-coli bacteria from attaching to their targets. They think it's the same enzyme that makes fruits and vegetables turn brown. But in this case, the enzyme disables the amino acid that allows bacteria to adhere to cells. Standard antibiotics kill those micro-organisms outright, but in the last few years the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has reached a crisis. So scientists are looking for alternatives. The researchers, who presented their study at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, say a number of herbal medicines may also fight bacterial infections through this anti-stick mechanism. And that's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.
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