A study conducted at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, recently reported on by The Institute of Food Technologists, suggests that extract from avocado seeds may be able to control listeria.
Results indicate that acetogenins from the avocado pulp contain many of these anti-listerial properties. But avocado seeds, which are normally a waste product, could also be a potent source for this chemical to use as a food additive.
While acetogenins appear to be widespread among avocado varieties, further study will be needed to assess their bioavailability after consumption.
Acetogenins, a kind of fatty acid, are known to insert themselves into cell membranes and disturb their functionality. Listeria bacteria causes a food-borne disease with a high mortality rate and, for pregnant women. the ability to cause meningitis, sepsis, miscarriage, premature delivery and mother-to-fetus infections.
If avocado seed extract proves to be commercially viable, it would be a big step forward in protecting people from the contaminant, which can survive in a wide range of temperatures and on a diverse assortment of food-contact surfaces and food items. Ready-to-eat products that are stored under refrigeration would see the most benefit, since they are particularly at risk of listeria contamination — as evidenced by Blue Bell's continued struggle with recalled ice cream.