Microbiologists from the University of Chicago conducted a study that showed the potentially negative effects of the food preservative nisin on beneficial bacteria in the body. The study results were published in the scientific journal ASC Chemical Biology (ASCCB).
Nisin, also known as lanthipeptide and E234, is a substance that microbes produce to resist other microorganisms. It is used in the production of beer, sausages, sauces and other products.
Scientists examined a database of human gut bacteria genomes and identified genes responsible for the production of six different lantibiotics, which are very similar to nisin.
Next, the researchers created versions of these lantibiotics and tested their effects on pathogens and beneficial microorganisms. They found that the different lantibiotics had varying effects, but all of them killed bacteria, which could potentially be harmful to human health.
In the future, scientists intend to develop methods to protect the body from the adverse effects of lantibiotics without losing their antibacterial properties.
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