Newly released research from McGill University in Montreal suggests that concentrated maple syrup extract may actually help fight bacterial infections, potentially reducing the need for antibiotics around the world.
“Combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes’ susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage,” reads a press release issued by the university Friday. “Overuse of antibiotics fuels the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which has become a major public-health concern worldwide.”
The release explains how scientists at the school’s department of chemical engineering used maple syrup samples, purchased at local markets in Montreal, to prepare a “concentrated extract of maple syrup that consists mainly of phenolic compounds,” a class of aromatic organic chemicals.
Researchers then tested this extract’s effect on “infection-causing strains of certain bacteria, including E. coli and Proteus mirabilis (a common cause of urinary tract infection).”
While the team admits in their findings that the extract was only “mildly effective” in combating bacteria on its own, it was found to be quite effective when combined with antibiotics.
More specifically, the extract was observed acting “synergistically with antibiotics” to destroy the “resistant communities of bacteria” commonly present in difficult-to-treat infections (like those involving the urinary tract.)
Does maple syrup hold the key to beating drug-resistant bacteria?
“We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans,” said lead researcher Nathalie Tufenkji in a statement. “But the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics.”