Washington: Date syrup possesses antibacterial activity that can ward off disease-causing bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
The research showed that, in vitro, date syrup is able to inhibit the growth of bacteria faster than manuka honey, which has previously been shown to have antibacterial properties and is increasingly used in dressings to improve wound repair.
Hajer Taleb, a research student from Cardiff Metropolitan University, who undertook the work, identified that the date syrup contains a number of phenolic compounds that form naturally in the date fruit as it matures. These compounds have previously been shown to have antibacterial activity. Artificial syrup - made of the constituent sugars found in natural syrup but lacking the phenolic compounds - was not as effective at inhibiting bacterial growth.
The results revealed that when the syrup was mixed with a range of disease-causing bacteria - including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa - it inhibited their growth. The date syrup was effective in similar amounts to manuka honey but worked more quickly, inhibiting bacterial growth after six hours of treatment, while the manuka honey required longer.
Lead researcher Dr Ara Kanekanian from Cardiff Metropolitan University, said that while the work was currently in vitro, it suggested that date syrup could exhibit health benefits through its anti bacterial activities, similar, or in some cases, better than honey.
The study was presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Annual Conference in Birmingham.