Soy microbial pathogens find could prevent some food contamination

April 26, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Soy can prevent microbial pathogens contamination on food, says a new study. According to Professor Suresh Neethirajan, soy or soya bean is proven to be a better and safer natural anti-microbial agent than the current roster of synthetic chemicals.

Soy microbial pathogens

The food industry should be using soy or soya beans to stop the growth of microbial pathogens on food, according to Suresh Neethirajan. Professor Neethirajan, who is the director of the BioNano Laboratory from the University of Guelph, a comprehensive public research university in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, published his findings in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports.

Mr. Neethirajan discovered that isoflavones, (which are polyphenolic compounds that are capable of exerting estrogen-like effects), and peptides from soybeans have the capacity to reduce or even eliminate microbes found in food in a safer way.

Neethirajan also learned that soy isoflavones and peptides are more effective than chemicals currently used to try to prevent microbial contamination. This study is a breakthrough for the more than 48 million people in the US, who suffer from some food-borne illness every year.

The East Asian legume is already commonly used to make, tofu, fermented bean paste, cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, margarine, food spreads, canned foods, and baked goods. Neethirajan is hoping that the food industry will move to the soy derivatives because not only would it combat bacteria, it could reduce “long-term illnesses resulting from the use of synthetic chemicals.” Neethirajan stated:

“Heavy use of chemical antimicrobial agents has caused some strains of bacteria to become very resistant to them, rendering them ineffective for the most part.”

He added:

“Soy peptides and isoflavones are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and non-toxic. The demand for new ways to combat microbes is huge, and our study suggests soy-based isoflavones and peptides could be part of the solution.”

Neethirajan and his team said in his study that soy peptides and isoflavones limited growth of some bacteria, including Listeria and Pseudomonas pathogens. They explained:

“The really exciting thing about this study is that it shows promise in overcoming the issue of current antibiotics killing bacteria indiscriminately, whether they are pathogenic or beneficial. You need beneficial bacteria in your intestines to be able to properly process food.”

Neethirajan stated that he and his researchers used microfluidics and high-throughput screening to run millions of tests in a short period, the next step is to conduct large-scale trials.

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    Comments (7)

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    1. David says:

      Alternatives to synthetics are the trend. This could be inexpensive too to prevent the diseases through soy preservatives. Nice study.

    2. meh says:

      Yes, because the number one thing we need is less microbial activity in food and a reason to consume more soy.

    3. JeffTech says:

      Honey is really good.

    4. NottaFaekNeym says:

      Odd that we all still experience food spoilage, being that soy is in basically ever processed and pre-packaged food available.

      Life is already hell for the allergic and frustrating for people who prefer other cooking oils. Soy is already one of the most widely grown crops in the country, if not the world.

      We do NOT need more of it in our food.

      If I look into this study, am I going to find a link to a soy lobby, or an agricultural corporate “think tank?”

      I mean, to begin with, “BioNano” sounds like something no scientist would ever come up with. In what way is nanotechnology involved?

      • STL1999 says:

        I found the study online. It was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. A little research found that Ontario plants more than 3 million acres of soybeans. Maybe a conflict of interest here?

    5. felicia says:

      What if you are not able to eat soy? I have to avoid soy and look for it in everything I consume. Not a good idea at all.

    6. Jane says:

      @Felicia – extraction technique provides the isolated and purified components that removes the allergic proteins. Hence these bio active stuff are safe to consume. @STL1999. Almost all academic labs are funded by government agencies and it is typical. There are no conflicts as the researchers rely on government for funding. USA experiences about 40 million food borne related illnesses every year as per CDC Atlanta, and this is one way to control the outbreak.


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