Tomatoes as Nature's Antibacterial Agents

According to research published in Microbiology Spectrum, a magazine of the American Society for Microbiology, tomato juice can eliminate Salmonella Typhi and other bacteria that can damage people's digestive and urinary system health. Typhoid fever is brought on by the lethal human-specific bacterium Salmonella Typhi.

 

Image Credit: pilipphoto/Shutterstock.com

Image Credit: pilipphoto/Shutterstock.com

Our main goal in this study was to find out if tomato and tomato juice can kill enteric pathogens, including Salmonella Typhi, and if so, what qualities they have that make them work.” 

Jeongmin Song, Principal Study Investigator and Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Cornell University

Initially, the scientists tested whether tomato juice actually killed Salmonella Typhi in experimental settings. After confirming that it did, the researchers examined the tomato's DNA to identify the antimicrobial peptides that were at play.

Small proteins known as antimicrobial peptides damage the bacterial membrane that maintains the organism intact. Four potential antimicrobial peptides were selected, and their efficacy against Salmonella Typhi was evaluated. This aided in the discovery of two antimicrobial peptides that effectively inhibited Salmonella Typhi.

Additional testing on Salmonella Typhi varieties that are found in areas where the disease is prevalent was carried out by the study team. To find out more about how the antibacterial peptides destroy Salmonella Typhi and other intestinal infections, they also conducted computer research. Finally, the effectiveness of tomato juice against various enteric infections that may negatively impact the health of the urinary tract and digestive system was examined.

The most important finding is that tomato juice effectively eradicates germs that can damage people's digestive and urinary tract health, including Salmonella Typhi and its hypervirulent forms. Two antimicrobial peptides in particular have the ability to destroy these infections by compromising the bacterial membrane, which encases the pathogen in a layer of defense.

Song said, “Our research shows that tomato and tomato juice can get rid of enteric bacteria like Salmonella.”

Because tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables naturally contain antibacterial properties, the researchers believe that when the general population, especially kids and teenagers, hears about the study's findings, they will want to eat and drink more of them.

Source:
Journal reference:

Kwon, R. S., et.al. (2024). Antimicrobial properties of tomato juice and peptides against typhoidal Salmonella. Microbiology Spectrum. doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.03102-23

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