Y O U R  F O O D

You can drink to that
In 1974, then-doctoral candidate John D. Folts was the first to discover that aspirin reduces sticky platelets from attaching to arterial walls and causing heart attacks and strokes. Now a UW Medical School professor of medicine, Folts has found that certain vitamin-like sub-stances called flavonoids may do an even better job of preventing coronary thrombosis. Using a model he developed that duplicates how blood flows through narrowed arteries, Folts has found that flavonoids in some fruits and vegetables, red wine, purple grape juice, dark beer and black tea have an anti-clogging effect that in some cases exceeds that of aspirin. But flavonoids go a step further: They're also potent anti-oxidants that soak up hazardous oxygen molecules and help keep "bad" cholesterol from damaging arterial walls. Folts, whose findings have been supported by several recent clinical studies, is currently studying which of the 4,000 flavonoids are the most protective and the dietary sources of those flavonoids.

On the track of a meat menace
It's made people ill, grabbed national headlines and shaken public confidence in the food industry. But microbiologists at UW's Food Research Institute are tracking E. coli (known to scientists as E. coli O157:H7) from the barnyard to the meat case. Charles Kaspar, John Luchansky and USDA researcher Jack Shere are surveying Wisconsin farms to find how the pathogen hides and how it travels. The information will help them develop ways farmers can reduce or eliminate E. coli from their herds. The researchers found the bacterium in calves on five of the 70 farms they surveyed. On two farms, they found it in water tanks. Animals carrying E. coli shared the same housing or water, occupied pens previously containing infected animals, or were housed nearby barns or pens with infected animals. The findings suggest that the bacterium can be transmitted directly among animals within a herd or indirectly through areas contaminated by infected animals. Researchers Kaspar, Luchansky and Eric Johnson also have studied survival and destruction of E. coli in fermented sausage - such as salami and pepperoni - and have identified several methods of fermentation, curing or heating that help manufacturers make a safe meat product.

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