The use of antibiotics in meat production is one of the factors contributing to the rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria – superbugs – that affect humans. Now an extract from pineapple stems could help stop those bugs in their tracks.
La Trobe University has collaborated with Anatara Lifesciences to conduct field trials with piglets. The pineapple enzymes have shown good results against pre-weaning diarrhoea – a condition that costs the industry $7 million a year and is commonly treated with antibiotics. The pineapple extract makes it difficult for the bacteria to attach to the cells in the pig’s gut. And, unlike antibiotics, since it’s not targeting the bacteria themselves it doesn’t promote the development of resistant strains.
Scientists hope this will also open up new avenues for natural treatments of gastro in humans – and stop the strong reliance on antibiotics that’s associated with the rise of superbugs.
Continuing research into animal and human health requires a strong and well-funded university sector. Stories like this one highlight the benefits that come from keeping Australia clever.