Microorganisms are responsible for causing food spoilage and a number of different foodborne illnesses each year. These illnesses can result in various ailments ranging from gastrointestinal discomfort to spontaneous abortions in pregnant women, and can even result in death in severe cases. It has been found that some varieties of chili peppers possess antimicrobial properties, with activity levels equivalent to that of some modern day antibiotics. These antimicrobial properties have only been tested in select few chili pepper leaves and fruit species. Here we show the antimicrobial properties of 12 exotic chili pepper species against Candida albicans, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Staphylococcus aureus. This study revealed that different fruits and leaves from various Capsicum species possess different strengths of antimicrobial activity. Overall, it suggests that these exotic species may represent a new untapped resource for identifying natural products that could be added to foods to organically increase food safety and also to treat human disease.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Antimicrobial Properties of Exotic Chili Peppers Against Common Food Pathogens.
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