Researchers study bitter ginger for its ability to prevent food spoilage
04/22/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

One of the signs of food spoilage is the presence of molds, also known as mycotoxins, which are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi. In addition, microorganisms like bacteria and fungi flourish on the food and cause spoilage. Because many food products are perishable by nature, they require protection to prevent contamination and preserve them for long periods of time. However, many use chemical preservatives, which are known to have harmful effects on health. Researchers from India suggest the use of bitter ginger oil as a natural agent to prevent food spoilage.

In the study, the researchers looked at the effects of extracted oil from bitter ginger against fungal species Aspergillus flavus and A. ochraceus. A. flavus can infect seeds of corn, peanuts, cotton, and nut trees, while A. ochraceus is often found in grains, soil, and salted food products. These species belong to the genus Aspergillus, which is known to produce the toxin ochratoxin A, one of the most common mycotoxins that contaminate food, and citrinin. Aspergillus typically cause aspergillosis, a group of diseases that commonly causes symptoms like fever, coughing, chest pain, and breathlessness.

For this purpose, they treated A. flavus and A. ochraceus with bitter ginger oil. The researchers found that the principal compound in bitter ginger oil is zerumbone, followed by alpha-caryophyllene and trace of other compounds. The treatment with bitter ginger oil significantly inhibited mycelia, spore germination, reduction in biomass, carbohydrate, protein, chitin, and genetic constituents. The inhibitory effect of bitter ginger oil involves damage the cell wall and distorting the metabolism of A. flavus and A. ochraceus. When they tested, the oil on maize, which served as a food substrate, bitter ginger oil exhibited an anti-mycotoxin effect. Overall, these results indicate that bitter ginger oil has antifungal and anti-mycotoxin properties.


From these findings, the researchers concluded that bitter ginger oil may be used as a bio-preservative because of its antifungal and anti-mycotoxin properties. In other words, bitter ginger oil can be used as a natural agent for preventing food spoilage and enhancing food quality. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research.

This isn't the first time that essential oil was suggested to be used in the prevention of food spoilage. A study conducted by researchers at the Ain-Shams University (ASU) in Egypt revealed that the essential oil of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) has the ability to inhibit the growth of various pathogens and that it can be used as a natural preservative against food spoilage and pathogenic strains.

Bitter ginger helps prevent brain damage caused by alcohol

Bitter ginger also has protective effects against alcohol. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that the extract of bitter ginger can be used as a natural agent to fight against the brain-damaging effects of alcohol consumption. This beneficial effect of bitter ginger can be attributed to its powerful antioxidant properties.

In the study, researchers from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia looked at the effects of bitter ginger extract against brain damage caused by alcohol in mice. They orally gave mice bitter ginger extract once a day, 30 minutes before alcohol exposure. Treatment with bitter ginger extract lasted for a period of two weeks.

The results showed that bitter ginger extract significantly reduced the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl in the brain homogenate, effectively preventing brain damage. MDA is a marker of oxidative stress, while protein carbonyl is an indicator of protein damage after alcohol consumption. These reductions may be attributed to zerumbone, the primary compound in bitter ginger. has more news stories and studies on the health benefits of natural oils from herbal plants.

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