A University of Alberta researcher has discovered how a compound in mustard seeds can protect against food spoilage, potentially identifying a new way to reduce the incidence of food poisoning cases.
In new findings reported in the European Food Research & Technology journal, Christina Engels said she has been able to extract a particular compound — sinapic acid — f rom mustard seed meal, which shows antibacterial effects against such strains as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Listria monocytogenes.
Both microbes cause tens of thousands of illnesses each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mustard seed meal is the product left over after the seed is pressed for its oil. While the oil can be used in making biodiesel and in some Asian markets as cooking oil, "the defatted seed meal left over is currently of little economic value," said Engels.
"That means the mustard seed meal can be used as a source for natural food preservatives," she added.