Tomato juice can kill Salmonella Typhi and other, according to research published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum. Salmonella Typhi is a human-specific pathogen that causes typhoid fever.
“Our main goal in this study was to find out if tomato and tomato juice can kill enteric pathogens, including Salmonella Typhi and, if so, what qualities they have that make them work,” said Jeongmin Song, PhD, associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and principal study investigator, in a press release.
First, the researchers checked to see whether tomato juice really does kill Salmonella Typhi. Once they determined that it did, the team looked at the tomato’s genome to find the antimicrobial peptides that were involved. Antimicrobial peptides are very small proteins that impair the bacterial membrane that keeps them as intact organisms. The researchers found two antimicrobial peptides in the tomato that proved effective against the pathogen.
The investigators conducted more tests on Salmonella Typhi variants that appear in places where the disease is common. They also conducted a digital study to learn more about how the antibacterial peptides kill this and other enteric pathogens.
The researchers concluded that tomato juice is effective in eliminating Salmonella Typhi, its hypervirulent variants, and other bacteria that can harm human digestive and urinary tract health. Specifically, two antimicrobial peptides in the product can eliminate these pathogens by impairing the bacterial membrane, a protective layer that surrounds the pathogen.