Mysterious explosion of a deadly plague may come down to a sugar in ice cream - C. diff kills tens of thousands each year. Its puzzling rise links to trehalose.

Posted by freedomforall 9 months, 1 week ago to Science
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"With tinkering, syrup scientists at Japan’s Hayashibara chemistry company finally figured out a novel enzymatic method to make it on the cheap from starch. The method brought costs down to just $3 per kilogram. By 2000—just before the rise of C. diff.—the company got approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to use it as an additive in food. Approval for use in Europe came the following year. Manufacturers started pouring trehalose into a variety of foods, from pasta to ground beef to ice creams.

To us, trehalose is an indistinguishable sweetener. It’s about 45 percent as sweet as table sugar (sucrose) and breaks down to simple glucose. But, according to the authors of the new Nature study, we’re not the only consumers. In a sugar-eating screen, the study authors noted that two C. diff. strains (out of 21) could happily survive on just a dash of trehalose. "

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  • Posted by  $  jlc 9 months ago
    Trehalose is not an artificial substance - many plants and animals store energy as trehalose; it is how a honey bee gets the energy to buzz its wings so rapidly. Humans, and most mammals, can metabolize trehalose but we store our energy as starch and not trehalose (starch is less efficient, hence the honey bee).

    The experiments are essentially saying, "If you give C. difficile more nutrients that it likes, it grows better."

    C. diff is a major problem and one that is often overlooked or downplayed; it has spores that are resistant to alcohol-based cleaners (typically used in hospitals). These spores are light and easily airborne, contaminating a ward or even a whole hospital if one person has this bacterium.

    I don't think there is any mystery about the C diff plague; it's just a really hard job to fix the situation and a lot of people would prefer to downplay it.

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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 9 months, 1 week ago
    It's Not Nice to fool with Mother Nature and not nice to humans to genetically or artificially modify anything she gives us.
    As I have noted, many times throughout my life's always about the "Thickeners!", the sugars or the preservatives.

    Funny, I buy a non genetically modified bread made with an ancient grain called spelt. The mix has only 4 ingredients and no preservatives. Leaving it out on the counter, it outlasts Wonder Bread! and comes close to the longevity of a twinke!
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    • Posted by DominiqueLehman 9 months ago
      Do tell ! what is the name of this "wonder" bread?
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 9 months ago's an ancient wheat grain that has never been modified. The grain is a bit harder than modern wheat but Mfg's have managed to produce a reasonably soft bread. They also make a pasta out of it and it tastes no different from traditional pasta.
        I do not get bloated when eating it.

        The longevity measured against a twinke is a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. We all know that a twinke is immortal...laughing!
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        • Posted by DominiqueLehman 9 months ago
          Thank you ... I do know what Spelt is ; ) I suppose my question wasn't clear... I am curious about the Brand Name of the 4 ingredient bread you buy or do you make it yourself?
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          • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 9 months ago
            Berlin Bakery, in Ohio, is what I end up buying most of the time because Peoples bread, Mass, is very expensive and I always miss the shipment and miss out because it's Sold Out!.

            The Righteous Raisin spelt, Ohio has spelt, water, yeast and sea salt...of course there is raisins, cinnamon and honey.
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