Found in fruit, particularly antibacterial with potential application in the food industry

Looking for alternatives that promote the welfare of the people through the food and medical industry, a group of experts composed of chemist Barbara Carolina Arias Argáez and PhD Jorge Carlos Ruiz and Elizabeth de la Luz Ortiz Vazquez, from the Department Biochemistry Engineering at the Merida Institute of Technology (ITM), in the south of Mexico, conducted a study of the pulp of the fruit Bromelia pinguin L. and found that this native plant has high antibacterial potential.

"We know that proteins inside the fruit have antibacterial activity. We have tested it with S. aureus, a bacterium with high incidence in hospitals which has developed resistance to antibiotics, so they do not work against it, "explains Dr. Elizabeth de la Luz Ortiz Vazquez, who served as an advisor of this research .

So far, in addition to the Bromeliad extract, the scientists have identified the protein responsible for the antibacterial ability of the fruit.

"We try to find alternatives for the food and health industry , and in this we have achieved a soluble plant extract; we are also characterizing proteins. It will probably serve to exploit this resource or produce within a bacteria, as it is done with insulin production" Dr. Ortiz Vazquez added.

This is the first time that the fruit of Bromelia pinguin L. is studied, a cousin of the pineapple, which has ramifications that reach up to two meters long. The fruit resides within the plant and numbers up to 50 in each bush.

The fruits of the plant are grown from November to May, the ancestors of the region were said to use as an antiparasitic, and that is why the research began in 2009. However, ITM specialists have discovered that proteins of the fruit have antibacterial capacity and can inhibit the growth of fungi.

"If we find any protein or peptide of 5-10 amino acids, we could produce it at a biotechnological level by introducing genetic information in a bacteria," says Dr. Ortiz Vazquez.

The research results generated in the ITM -exposes Arias Argáez- provide basic information for future production of biopharmaceuticals with potential application in the treatment of various diseases or as antibacterial additives in the food industry.

According to Dr. Jorge Carlos Ruiz, some species of bromeliads are endangered in Yucatan. In the past the plant was heavily consumed; but lost presence in the area, therefore the investigation was revalued and potentiates its consumption and care.

For its potential contribution to the food industry and innovation involving this project it was awarded the National Prize in Science and Food Technology (PNCTA) 2014 in the Student category, held for the last 39 years by the National Science and Technology Council in Mexico (CONACYT) and the Mexican Industry Coca-Cola to promote the development of science and progress in the field of food and beverages through technology and innovation. (Agencia ID)

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