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Bacterial molecules discovered in processed foods could unlock key to healthier diets

Our favourite foods could be made healthier thanks to a new technique developed by the University of Leicester which has identified harmful bacterial molecules in certain processed foods such as burgers and ready meals.

The study identifies a particular kind of contaminating molecule known as ‘pathogen-associated molecular patterns’ (PAMPs), which are released by certain types of bacteria as they grow during some food processing and refrigeration processes, and may increase our risk of developing conditions such as coronary artery disease and Type 2 diabetes.

PAMPs are undetectable in non-processed and fresh foods, suggesting that they develop during the manufacturing process.

Image of foods high and low in PAMP
Image of foods high and low in PAMP
University of Leicester