Researchers at McGill University have found that concentrated maple syrup may make bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics. Findings from the study are published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Scientists tested a concentrated maple syrup extract made up of mostly phenolic compounds on infection-causing bacteria, including E. coli, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Use of the extract alone was mildly effective against the bacteria. However, when given with antibiotics, the maple syrup extract proved especially effective. It exhibited a synergistic effect with antibiotics in fighting biofilms, which are found in difficult-to-treat infections (eg, catheter-associated urinary tract infections). The maple syrup extract is thought to work by repressing genes linked with antibiotic resistance and virulence.

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This proof-of-concept study showed combining maple syrup with antibiotics could increase bacterial susceptibility, which could result in lower antibiotic usage. Researchers added future in vivo tests and clinical trials are needed before concluding what impact this may have on humans. Findings suggest that possible incorporation of maple syrup extract into antibiotic capsules may be an effective way to reduce antibiotic usage.

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