Scientists have discovered a critical new use for cranberry juice. The growing problem of fighting antibiotic resistant staph infections could end up being overcome simply by drinking cranberry juice.
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) presented their discovery at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Boston in August of this year.
"Most of our work with cranberry juice has been with E. coli and urinary tract infections, but we included Staphylococcus aureus in this study because it is a very serious health threat," explained Terri Camesano, chemical engineering professor at WPI. “This is early data, but the results are surprising."
Bacteria work by entering the body and then gathering together into groups known as biofilm. Once the biofilm is formed the infection can take hold and start to cause problems for the host.
"What was surprising is that Staphylococcus aureus showed the most significant results in this study," said Camesano. "We saw essentially no biofilm in the staph samples, which is very surprising because Staph aureus is usually very good at forming biofilms. That’s what makes it such a health problem."
Researchers at WPI now see that cranberry juice prevents the bacteria from forming, but there is no clear reason as to how the prevention is taking place.
"These results do create more questions than answers," concluded Camesano. "We believe this is an important new area to explore, and we are now thinking about how best to proceed."