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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nasty Pesticide Broken Down by Probiotic Used In Culturing Food

English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure.
English: A sign warning about pesticide exposure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A new study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology shows that a commonly used food probiotic known as Lactobacillus plantarum is capable of degrading dangerous pesticide residues in wheat (pirimiphos-methyl), confirming the traditional fermentation-based food-processing technique known as culturing can significantly improve the safety of conventional food.
The researchers found that Lactobacillus plantarum enhanced the degradation of the pesticide from 15-34%, a close to 81% enhancement. The significance and impact of the study was described as follows:
Pesticide residues are an unavoidable part of the environment due to their extensive applications in agriculture. As wheat is a major cultivated cereal, the presence of pesticide residues in wheat is a real concern to human health. Reduction in pesticide residues during fermentation has been studied, but there is a lack of data regarding pesticide residues dissipation during cereal fermentation. Present work investigates the dissipation of pirimiphos-methyl during wheat fermentation by L. plantarum. Results are confirmation that food-processing techniques can significantly reduce the pesticide residues in food, offering a suitable means to tackle the current scenario of unsafe food.
Conventional wheat and other commonly consumed grains receive post-harvest pesticide treatment to prevent their infestation during storage.[1] Very little degradation occurs during storage, and milling does not significantly reduce the bulk of the chemicals, but in fact results in the distribution of their residues in various processed products.  This has raised particular concern in regard to the contamination of baby food products containing cereal ingredients,[2] especially since wheat bound pesticides such as pirimiphos-methyl have been found to have high bioavailability in animals.

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