Maple syrup could help curb overuse of antibiotics

New research from McGill University reveals that a concentrated extract of maple syrup combined with common antibiotics increases the microbes' susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic use, according to an announcement from the university. Drug-resistant bacteria, caused by overuse of antibiotics, has become a major public health concern. But researchers found that maple syrup, made from concentrated sap from North American maple trees, is a rich source of natural phenolic compounds that act as a strong antimicrobial. The team tested the extract on infection-causing bacteria, including E. coli and Proteus mirabilis, a common cause of urinary tract infection, and was found mildly effective, but when combined with antibiotics, the extract proved much more effective. "We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans," said Nathalie Tufenkji, head of the research team from McGill's Department of Chemical Engineering. "I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics." The study is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Study abstract