Washington: It has been believed that consuming cranberry products has been anecdotally associated with prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) for over 100 years.
In recent years, some studies have suggested that cranberries prevent UTIs by hindering bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, thanks to phytochemicals known as proanthocyanidins (PACs).
Yet the mechanisms by which cranberry materials may alter bacterial behaviour have not been fully understood.
Now, researchers in McGill University`s Department of Chemical Engineering are shedding light on the biological mechanisms by which cranberries may impart protective properties against urinary tract and other infections.
Two new studies, spearheaded by Prof. Nathalie Tufenkji, add to evidence of cranberries` effects on UTI-causing bacteria.
The findings also point to the potential for cranberry derivatives to be used to prevent bacterial colonization in medical devices such as catheters.
In research results, Prof. Tufenkji and members of her laboratory report that cranberry powder can inhibit the ability of Proteus mirabilis, a bacterium frequently implicated in complicated UTIs , to swarm on agar plates and swim within the agar.
The experiments also show that increasing concentrations of cranberry powder reduce the bacteria`s production of urease, an enzyme that contributes to the virulence of infections.
The study is published online in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.