USDA ARS

Jul 20, 2021
New ARS Food and Nutrition Research Briefs issued

A pioneering concept using big data and computational biology has identified more than 1,500 phytochemicals in watermelon and innovative solutions have been proposed for the problems of off-flavors and blue-green algae in catfish. This information is part of the latest issue of the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Food and Nutrition Research Briefs.

The latest issue, which reports discoveries from researchers at ARS laboratories nationwide, can be found here.

Among other findings, the current issue reports:

  • Unique communities of multiple bacterial species that form at food processing plants after routine sanitary procedures may either collaborate or compete with E. coli and salmonella pathogens by forming a biofilm community or mixed biofilm structure. Strong competition may inhibit pathogen survival. Since many of these bacteria are not harmful to humans or animals, if the specific species that inhibit pathogen biofilm formation can be identified, they could be used as probiotics (preventive measures) against disease-causing bacteria.
  • A stable, naturally occurring, health-promoting compound called γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), was recently found to be generated by fermentation of brined cucumbers. Low-salt fermentation enhances the GABA content in pickled cucumber products prepared for direct consumption and fermenting the cucumbers in lower salt brines and storing them in their original fermented juices increases the GABA levels.

ARS Food and Nutrition Research Briefs is available on the web. Readers can subscribe, signing up for either of two email options: They can receive the full text of the newsletter by email or simply an advisory when a new issue has been posted online.

– Kim Kaplan, USDA ARS




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