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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1997 Sep 15;154(2):245-50.

Induction of gram-negative bacterial growth by neurochemical containing banana (Musa x paradisiaca) extracts.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Mankato State University, MN 56002, USA.


Bananas contain large quantities of neurochemicals. Extracts from the peel and pulp of bananas in increasing stages of ripening were prepared and evaluated for their ability to modulate the growth of non-pathogenic and pathogenic bacteria. Extracts from the peel, and to a much lesser degree the pulp, increased the growth of Gram-negative bacterial strains Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella flexneri, Enterobacter cloacae and Salmonella typhimurium, as well as two non-pathogenic E. coli strains, in direct relation to the content of norepinephrine and dopamine, but not serotonin. The growth of Gram-positive bacteria was not altered by any of the extracts. Supplementation of vehicle and pulp cultures with norepinephrine or dopamine yielded growth equivalent to peel cultures. Total organic analysis of extracts further demonstrated that the differential effects of peel and pulp on bacterial growth was not nutritionally based, but due to norepinephrine and dopamine. These results suggest that neurochemicals contained within foodstuffs may influence the growth of pathogenic and indigenous bacteria through direct neurochemical-bacterial interactions.

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