Tag Archives: e coli

Cinnamon can act as an anti-bacterial agent

Cinnamon can not only tickle your taste buds, the ancient cooking spice is also an effective anti-bacterial agent and can help prevent some of the most serious food-borne illnesses caused by pathogenic bacteria, says a study.

Cinnamomum cassia oil can work effectively as a natural anti-bacterial agent in the food industry, the findings showed.

“The oil can be incorporated into films and coatings for packaging both meat and fresh produce,” said Lina Sheng from the Washington State University.

“It can also be added into the washing step of meat, fruits or vegetables to eliminate micro-organisms,” Sheng added.

In the study, the essential oil killed several strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E coli), known to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “non-O157 STEC.”



The study looked at the top six strains of non-O157 STEC.

The cinnamon cassia oil is effective in low concentrations, Sheng said. About 10 drops diluted in a litre of water killed the bacteria within 24 hours.

Rising health concerns about chemical additives have strengthened demand for natural food additives, Meijun Zhu, an assistant professor at the Washington State University noted.

“Our focus is on exploring plant-derived natural food bioactive compounds as anti-microbials to control food-borne pathogens, in order to ensure safety of fresh produce,” she added.

Cassia cinnamon is produced primarily in Indonesia and has a stronger smell than the other common cinnamon variety, Ceylon.

The study appeared online in the journal Food Control.

Urinary tract infections may be helped by cranberry juice

Urinary tract infections are the most common type of infection in the elderly. Between one and three percent of all GP visits are because of UTIs, and half the female population will have a UTI at least once in their lifetime. Which is why researchers have been assessing the data on cranberry juice to see if it can be used to prevent the infection.

The majority of UTIs are caused by E.coli bacteria, which is found around the anus, for example, and so can relatively easily find its way into the urinary tract. Once there, the bacteria binds to the cells lining the urinary tract causing inflammation. This in turn produces symptoms including a burning sensation when urinating, and a feeling of a need to urinate.

While some infections may clear up on their own, many UTIs need to be treated with antibiotics. This is a less-than-ideal situation both for the patient and the rest of the world, what with antibiotic resistance building towards fluoroquinolones, one of the most commonly used medications as treatment for UTIs.



The new research published in Nutrition Bulletin assessed available data and confirmed that drinking 240ml of the juice each day could reduce risk of bacteria binding to cells in the urinary tract for at least eight hours afterwards. Also that recurrences of UTI a year after an infection were reduced by 35% in women who drank cranberry juice on a daily basis.

These findings are particularly important for older adults who experience different symptoms with UTIs – often they don’t have the pain during urination that younger people do – resulting in delayed treatment.

Signs to look out for in older adults include sudden changes in behaviour, ie not being able to do simple tasks that they could do the day before, confusion, as well as urinary incontinence.

Drinking plenty of water regularly is the best way to prevent UTIs, as well as good hygiene. The use of catheters also puts a person at greater risk.