Pomegranate Products' Compounds Fight Harmful E. coli

Jenn Hoskins
28th April, 2024

Pomegranate Products' Compounds Fight Harmful E. coli

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • At the University of Georgia, researchers found pomegranate peel extracts can reduce harmful E. coli in food
  • Powdered pomegranate peel extracts were more effective than whole peel or juice powder
  • The effectiveness is linked to the extracts' ellagitannins content and acidity
In the quest to combat foodborne pathogens, scientists have been turning to natural substances for solutions. One such substance is the pomegranate, a fruit with a rich history of medicinal use. Researchers at the University of Georgia have recently explored the effectiveness of pomegranate peel extracts as a natural way to inhibit harmful bacteria[1]. This study could potentially address the growing concern over multidrug-resistant bacteria and provide a safer, more natural method of preserving food. The study focused on two strains of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), which are known to cause severe foodborne illnesses. The objective was to determine whether extracts from commercially available pomegranate peel products could reduce the population of these E. coli strains. To do this, scientists treated bacterial cultures with different concentrations of pomegranate peel extracts and measured the resulting decrease in bacterial numbers. The results were clear: pomegranate peel extracts were effective in reducing EHEC populations. In particular, extracts from powdered pomegranate peels were significantly more potent than those from whole peel or juice powder. The study found that the level of bacterial reduction was directly related to the concentration of ellagitannins—a type of hydrolyzable tannin found in pomegranate peels—and the acidity of the extract. Ellagitannins are known to possess antimicrobial properties, which were confirmed by the positive correlation between their concentration and the effectiveness of the extract against EHEC[2]. These findings align with previous research that has highlighted the antimicrobial potential of pomegranate components. For instance, studies have shown that pomegranate juice, peel, and other parts of the plant have antimicrobial activities against a range of bacteria and viruses[3]. Pomegranate has also been recognized for its antioxidative, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been incorporated into food products to improve shelf-life and safety[4]. The study from the University of Georgia builds on these earlier findings by demonstrating the practical application of pomegranate peel extracts in food safety. The research suggests that these natural extracts could be used as additives or preservatives to control pathogens like EHEC in food products. This is particularly relevant as the food industry seeks alternatives to synthetic chemicals for food preservation. The significance of this study extends beyond just food safety. The use of natural plant extracts like those from pomegranate peels could also reduce the environmental impact of food production and offer a more sustainable approach to managing foodborne pathogens. In conclusion, the study presents pomegranate peel extracts as a promising natural solution to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in food. It confirms the antimicrobial potential of ellagitannins and supports the use of pomegranate-derived substances as food additives or preservatives. While this research provides valuable insights, further in vivo studies and clinical trials are necessary to fully establish the efficacy and safety of pomegranate peel extracts in food preservation and pathogen control.



Main Study

1) Ellagitannin content and anti-enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli activity of aqueous extracts derived from commercial pomegranate products.

Published 30th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)


Related Studies

2) Phenolic compounds as beneficial phytochemicals in pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) peel: A review.


3) The pomegranate: effects on bacteria and viruses that influence human health.


4) Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives.


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