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Cranberry and oregano make seafood safe to eat
The Health Benefits of Oregano

07 October 2005
From New Scientist Print Edition
IN CULINARY terms they are poles apart: one is a staple of Italian cuisine, the other an essential accompaniment to roast turkey. But put oregano and cranberries together and you have a potent antibacterial agent that could cut the risk of food poisoning from infected seafood.

So say Kalidas Shetty and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, who have been experimenting with different ratios of cranberry and oregano extract to kill Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a seafood-dwelling bacterium that can cause two-day bouts of stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

While both plants are known to contain phenolic compounds with antimicrobial activity, Shetty had a hunch that they might be more effective when used in combination. He found that using a 50:50 mixture to coat cod fillets and shrimps infected with V. parahaemolyticus was far more effective at killing the bugs than either of the compounds on its own - probably because they disrupt different parts of the bacterial cell. Lowering the pH with a dash of lactic acid made the concoction even more effective (Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, vol 6, p 453).

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