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Study: Salad Ingredient Kills Drug-Resistant TB

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.

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