May 21, 2009

Scientists find salmonella feed on glucose

British scientists say they have discovered what salmonella bacteria feed on to survive as they cause food poisoning -- glucose.

Researchers at the Institute of Food Research and the University of East Anglia said their discovery of salmonella's weakness for sugar could lead to a vaccine that might also protect against other disease-causing bacteria, including superbugs.

This is the first time that anyone has identified the nutrients that sustain salmonella while it is infecting a host's body, said Arthur Thompson of the Institute of Food Research.

Salmonella food poisoning causes infection in about 20 million people worldwide each year and is responsible for about 200,000 human deaths. It also infects farm animals and attaches to salad vegetables.

Thompson said the nutrition of bacteria during infection is an emerging science and the finding is one of the first major breakthroughs in the field.