Maple syrup may make antibiotics more effective
To increase the susceptibility of microbes to treatments, scientists combined common antibiotics with maple syrup extract. The maple syrup extract contained mostly phenolic compounds, which are a rich resource in the syrup taken from North American maple trees. The combination of extracts and antibiotics decreased the use of antibiotics, which may help fight the consistent rise of drug-resistant infections that have become a worldwide health concern.
The scientists first tested the extract on infection-causing bacteria strains (including Proteus mirabilis, which causes urinary tract infections, and E. coli) in a laboratory.
Results showed that the maple syrup extract was only mildly efficient in battling the infectious bacteria. Fortunately, combining the extract with the antibiotics proved remarkably effective. The extract and antibiotics partnered to destroy biofilms, which are bacterial communities that are known for resisting treatments and are responsible for infections that are difficult to treat, such as urinary tract infections associated with catheters.
"We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans," Nathalie Tufenkji, Canada Research Chair in Biocolloids and Surfaces and the lead researcher at McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said. "But the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics.”
Further details will be available in the Applied Environmental Microbiology journal.