One of the world's oldest known disinfectants and favorite salad dressings may
prove even stronger than previously thought. An international research team has
found that vinegar or, more specifically, the active ingredient in vinegar can kill
mycobacteria, including a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.Researchers
recently stumbled upon the finding when postdoctoral fellow Claudia Cortesia
found that the ingredient, acetic acid, killed mycobacteria that she had been seeking
to study in a lab. For thousands of years, vinegar has been used as a common
disinfectant, but its potential role as a high-powered weapon against drug-resistant
mycobacteria represents an important new finding, particularly for developing countries.
“There is a real need for less toxic and less expensive disinfectants that can eliminate
TB and non-TB mycobacteria, especially in resource-poor countries,” said Howard
Takiff, a senior author on the study and the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics
at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigations in Caracas.
Acetic acid less toxic and corrosive than bleach is also cheaper than other commercial
disinfectants that kill tuberculosis, making it perhaps an appealing and effective
disinfectant for hospitals, doctors' offices and labs in developing countries, where funds
are low and mycobacteria are especially prevalent.
The study, co-authored by researchers from Venezuela, France and the United States,
was published in the online journal mBio.
Source: US News World Report