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Food Roundup

January 29, 2010

Licorice root has powerful anti-bacterial properties.


A licorice antibiotic. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

University of Texas researchers have isolated a protein from the root of the licorice plant and found that it is effective in preventing pseudomonas infections in mice. These same bacteria often infect people with burns and can infect the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis. The hope is that the finding will lead to an effective new treatment for these dangerous infections.

In other health news, scientists at Tufts University report that the calorie counts that restaurants display for their menu items are unreliable. On average, the restaurant counts were 18% lower than the actual number of calories. The researchers say that often the portion sizes served were larger than ones used on the calorie displays, and sometimes contained extra ingredients that added extra calories. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.