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Can Maple Syrup Extract Make Antibiotics Kill Bacteria Easily?

4 April 2017, 6:39 am EDT By Sumit Passary Tech Times
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Scientists may have discovered a way to increase the potency of antibiotics. An extract derived from maple syrup could possibly decrease the consumption of antibiotics by 90 percent.  ( Joe Raedle | Getty Images )

Antibiotics are a standard medication often prescribed to patients. However, prolonged usage of these drugs results in not only infected cells, but also healthy ones getting killed.

Administering antibiotics may also lead to the creation of a super infection inside the user's body that is resistant to the medication.

Owing to these drawbacks, researchers have been persevering to find alternative methods to help counter infections. It seems that their efforts are not in vain, as they may have discovered a viable solution that may considerably limit the use of antibiotics.

A research team from McGill University in Montreal discovered that maple syrup extract, when used in tandem with antibiotics, increases their potency exponentially. It is reportedly effective in killing "superbugs" by enhancing the potency of antibiotics.

Maple Syrup Extract: Can It Ward Off 'Superbugs?'

The idea of using maple syrup extract first came to the forefront when Nathalie Tufenkji, the lead researcher of the study, was observing the anti-microbial effects of cranberry extracts. During her study, she learned about the anti-cancer properties of maple syrup extract, which fueled her to test its anti-microbial effects.

Using previously established methods, Tufenkji and other scientists separated the water and sugar from the phenolic compounds in the syrup. This compound is known to give maple syrup its unique color.

The researchers applied this extract to several bacterial strains to adjudge its effect on them. Interestingly, the scientists noticed that by itself, the extract did not do anything. Tufenkji then mixed the extract with commonly used antibiotic medications. This immediately provided results as the products mixed, forming a synergistic effect.

Scientists noted that this combination resulted in a 90 decrease in the use of antibiotics to achieve the same microbial effect.

The researchers then experimented on fruit flies and moth larvae to test their hypothesis. When a mixture of antibiotics and the maple syrup extract was administered, both insects demonstrated a longer life span. On the other hand, the insects on which only the antibiotic was administered died much sooner.

Why Does Maple Syrup Extract Boost The Potency Of Antibiotics?

Scientists figured out why the addition of the extract increases the potency of regular antibiotics. It was revealed that the extract upped the bacterial cell's permeability, which caused the antibiotic medication to reach the source of the infection easily and eradicate it.

"There are other products out there that boost antibiotic strength, but this may be the only one that comes from nature," said Tufenkji.

She affirmed that more research is being conducted on similar lines to determine what other product derivatives can be used for such purposes.

The researchers presented their findings at the 253rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on Sunday, April 2. The event included more than 14,000 presentations on scientific topics.

The YouTube video that elaborates on the research conducted can be seen below.

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