Common preservatives could be damaging gut health: study


A new study suggests that a commonly used food preservative may interfere with microbial gut bacteria required to keep us healthy.


Lantibiotics, a modified chain of amino acids that is added to food to prevent the growth of bacteria, is used in everything from beer and sausage to cheese and dipping sauces, according to the research, which was published in ACS Chemical Biology by researchers with the University of Chicago.


Nisin, a popular type of lantibiotic, is produced by bacteria that live in the mammary glands of cows, and the research suggests that it could affect pathogens and commensal gut bacteria in humans.


“Nisin is, in essence, an antibiotic that has been added to our food for a long time, but how it might impact our gut microbes is not well studied,” study author Zhenrun Zhang said in a press release.


“Even though it might

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