For decades, researchers have been finding ways to fight disease-causing bacteria in food production without the use of antibiotics. This is because bacteria continuously become resistant to antibiotics due to repeated and improper use.
In a study published in the journal PLOS One
, researchers at the National Food Institute
of the Technical University of Denmark
have found that Cap 18, a naturally occurring peptide, can be used to fight bacteria in food-producing animals
. Thus, it can reduce the need to treat sick animals with conventional antibiotics. Peptides like Cap 18 are composed of amino acids and are the building blocks of proteins.
Cap 18 is part of the primitive immune system of animals and occurs naturally in tears from rabbits. It can fight against three bacteria: Salmonella typhimurium
, Yersinia ruckeri
, and Aeromonas salmonicida
is a foodborne bacteria that cause the most disease outbreaks in Europe, while the two other bacteria cause red mouth disease and furunculosis in rainbow trout, inflicting substantial economic losses on the aquaculture industry.
Based on the calculations from the National Food Institute
, the commercial production of Cap 18 would be both financially viable and practically possible. However, before Cap 18 or its variants can be used as an ingredient in food or feed, a microorganism would have to be developed that could make the peptide. In addition, the effect of ingesting such product should also be further examined.
Although the researchers do not plan to conduct further research into this particular peptide, they are working to find other naturally occurring peptides and proteins in potatoes and seaweed to be used as a preservative and a functional feed.