Maple Leaves Syrup May Answer Drug-Resistant Bacteria: Canada Researchers

Canada’s masthead maple tree leave has something more to offer to fight infections acting as an accelerator to antibiotics, especially in dealing with drug-resistant variety, said a new Canadian study.

Prof Tufenkji with Vimal Maisuria (Photo: McGill Iniversity, Canada)

Prof Tufenkji with Vimal Maisuria (Photo: McGill Iniversity, Canada)

A concentrated extract of maple syrup combined with common antibiotics can increase the microbes’ suscpetibility and help answer the growing concern about the overuse of antibiotics across the world, say researchers from the McGill University in Canada.

Led by Nathalie Tufenkji, the team of researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering extracted maple syrup consisting of phenolic compounds, which is abundantly available from the maples trees grown in northern Americas.

In their lab tests, the researchers found the extract on its own has little effect in fighting bacteria but combined with other antibiotics can deter infections of certain type of bacteria, including the common E. Coli and urniary tract infection from Proteus mirabilits.

The combination antibiotics and maple tree syrup was able to act on drug-resistent bacteria called biofilms, which are a major concern now. It was able to treat the catheter-related urinary tract infections, in particular, said researchers.

The Sugar maple is generally tapped for sap, which is then boiled to make maple syrup or to produce maple sugar or maple taffy. It takes about 40 litres of sugar maple sap to make 1 litre of syrup but only Acer species may be tapped for syrup.

However, researcher have a long way to go before finally concluding on its veracity. “We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans,” Tufenkji said.

If proved, the findings may have the potential simple approach to reduce antibiotics overuse or tackle the drug-resistent bacteria. “I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics,” said Tugenkji.

To get the phenolic-rich extract from the maple leaves, they had forzen them before using in the study. The extract has also proved effective in chaning the gene expression of the bacteria, repressing their gene number.

The study was conducted by Tugenkji and two of his post-doctoral fellows Vimal Maisuria and Zeinab Hosseinidoust, with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs program. The findings have been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


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