MONTREAL (CBS) – Could the key to killing drug-resistant bacteria be found on your Sunday morning brunch plate?
According to researchers at McGill University in Canada, the answer could be yes.
Scientists say they combined maple syrup extract with common antibiotics and used the mixture on infection-causing strains of some types of bacteria, like E. coli, and found that the combination increased the microbe’s susceptibility, leading to the need for a lower dose of antibiotics.
That’s important because drug-resistant bacteria often emerge from the overuse of antibiotics. In fact, a 2014 WHO report found drug-resistant bacteria present in almost all parts of the world, which is “cause for high concern.”
“Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, said in response to that report.
Last year, two people in the Philadelphia region fell ill with NDM-producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant bacterial infection first reported in Serbia.
While the scientists involved in the maple syrup study say they’d have to do more clinical trials using the extract before they’re able to determine its potential effects in humans, they also say their findings are encouraging because they “suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage.”
Canada produces more than 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup, and the majority of it is made in Quebec province, where McGill is located.