The study, conducted by Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering at WPI, and team that includes graduate students Yatao Liu and Paola Pinzon-Arango, found that compounds in cranberries were responsible for making cranberry sauce a possible antibacterial agent.
In the study, the team used atomic force microscope and other sophisticated tools to examine how a group of tannins, called proanthocyanidins or PACs found primarily in cranberries, interacted with bacteria at the molecular level.
The analysis found that the compounds prevented E. coli from adhering to cells in the body, which is a necessary first step in infections, in several ways, which includes- the chemical changes caused by cranberry juice creates an energy barrier that keeps the bacteria from getting close to the urinary tract lining.
The direct measurements showed that the adhesive forces between E. coli and cells of the urinary tract were greatly reduced when at least a 5 percent solution of cranberry juice cocktail is present.
Also the study found that E. coli grown in cranberry juice or the isolated PACs were unable to form biofilms, which are clusters containing high concentrations of bacteria required for infections to develop.
Camesano said that the finding indicated that the benefits of cranberry juice would increase its consumption, which is good.
The study is issued in FAV Health 2007 and in AgroFOOD industry hi-tech.