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Cranberry juice shows promise blocking Staph infections
Date:9/1/2010

samples from subjects who had recently consumed cranberry juice cocktail significantly reduced the ability of E. coli and S. aureus to form biofilms on the surface of the dishes.

"What was surprising is that Staphylococcus aureus showed the most significant results in this study," Camesano said. "We saw essentially no biofilm in the staph samples, which is very surprising because Staph aureus is usually very good at forming biofilms. That's what makes it such a health problem."

With E. coli, Camesano's focal point is the small hair-like projections known as fimbriae, which act like hooks and help the bacteria latch onto cells that line the urinary tract. Camesano has shown that exposure to cranberry juice causes the fimbriae on E. coli to curl up, blunting their ability to attach to cells. S. aureous, however, doesn't have fimbirae, so there must be other reasons why the cranberry juice affected its biofilm formation in the study. "These results do create more questions than answers," Camesano said. "We believe this is an important new area to explore, and we are now thinking about how best to proceed."

Since bacterial adhesion is required for infection, Camesano hopes that better understanding of the specific mechanisms and forces involved in biofilm formation will help inform future studies aimed at identifying potential drug targets for new antibiotics. The data may also be useful in studies aimed at engineering the surfaces of invasive medical devices like catheters to make them more resistant to bacterial adhesion.


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Contact: Michael Cohen
mcohen@wpi.edu
508-868-4778
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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