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A natural food preservative kills food-borne bacteria

Salmonella and E. coli account for more than half of all food recalls in the United States; salmonella contributes to an estimated 28 percent of more than 3,000 U.S. deaths related to foodborne illness each year; researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic -- a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria -- that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.  Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic — a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria — that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.  The U of M lantibiotic is the first natural preservative found to kill gram-negative bacteria, typically the harmful kind. “It’s aimed at protecting foods from a broad range of bugs that cause disease,” said Dan O’Sullivan, a professor of food science and nutrition in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. “Of the natural preservatives, it has a broader umbrella of bugs that it can protect against.”  A University of Minnesota release reports that the lantibiotic could be used to prevent harmful bacteria in meats, processed cheeses, egg and dairy products, canned foods, seafood, salad dressing, fermented beverages, and many other foods.  Source