An article reported on February 15, 2016 in Nature Chemical Biology reveals the discovery of an enzyme needed by beneficial bacteria in order to feed on a sugar known as sulfoquinovose (SQ), which is abundantly produced by leafy, green vegetables.
“We discovered the enzyme YihQ, which is used by bacteria to absorb and metabolize these sulfur-containing sugars as food,”
“We speculate that consumption of this specific molecule within leafy greens will prove to be an important factor in improving and maintaining healthy gut bacteria and good digestive health.”
Bacteria in the gut, such as crucial protective strains of E. coli, use SQ as a source of energy, E. coli provides a protective barrier that prevents growth and colonization by bad bacteria, because the good bugs are taking up all the habitable real estate.
New antimicrobial strategies are desperately needed as more and more bacteria acquire resistance to existing classes of antibiotics.