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Maple Syrup Extract May Fight Infection-Causing Bacteria: Study

04/19/2015 06:18 EDT | Updated 04/22/2015 10:59 EDT

New research suggests Canada's sweetest export may help fight off infection-causing bacteria and lessen the need for antibiotics.

According to McGill University scientists, maple syrup extract helped combat bacterial strains like E. coli and Proteus mirabilis in a way that was "mildly effective," reports CTV News. These types of bacteria, commonly known as biofilms, often result in difficult-to-treat or long-lasting infections.

Prof. Nathalie Tufenkji told the network she and her team of researchers first began conducting these tests upon learning maple syrup extract compounds contained anti-carcinogenic properties.

"Alone, the compounds did not have much of an antibiotic effect," said Tufenkji. "But when we mixed them with antibiotics, we saw they actually improved the action or potency of the antibiotic."

Though no human trials have yet been conducted, this research proposes maple syrup extract can boost the effectiveness of medication and minimize the impact of drug-resistant bacteria. The findings will be published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal in May, but Tufenkji and her team cited these early results as a positive for the medical community in a news release issued Friday.

"Overuse of antibiotics fuels the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which has become a major public-health concern worldwide," states the release, which writes maple syrup extract and phenolic compounds could have medicinal value.

“The findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage.”

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