Researchers: Latifah Saiful Yazan, Foo Hooi Ling, Raha Abdul Rahim and Loh Teck Chwen
UPM scientists are researching the possibility of using tapai ubi, or fermented tapioca, as a prevention against cancer. Lactobacillus plantarum UL4 (Lactic Acid Bacteria) isolated from local tapai ubi (fermented tapioca, Manihot esculanta ) is able to produce bacteriocin (designated as bacteriocin UL4) that shows broad inhibitory activities towards a numbers of pathogens, such as Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium, Enterococcus faecium and Listeria monocytogenes. Bacteriocin UL4 not only can withstand high temperatures up to 121ºC for 15 minutes but is also stable at temperatures below 15ºC for up to 60 days.
As for pH tolerence, the bacteriocin UL4 is also tolerable to broad pH range, which includes acidic (pH 2-5) and basic (pH 7-8) pH. The physiological effects of bacteriocin UL4 have been studied by feeding to post weaning rats as feed additive.
The feeding trial results demonstrated that it could reduce the total plasma cholesterol concentration and the Enterobacteriaceae counts significantly as compared to the control group. Under the study conducted at UPM, the bacterioicn UL4 also exhibited positive in vitro cytotoxic activities towards a few cancerous cell lines, for instances breast carcinoma (estrogen receptor-positive MCF7 and estrogen receptor-negative MDA MB231), cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa), ovarian cancer (CaOV3) and acute promyelocytic leukaemia (HL60) cells.
However no detailed study has been carried out yet to evaluate the cancer chemopreventive activities of bacteriocin. By knowing the potential of the bacteriocin to fight various malignancies, this work is proposed to assess its anti-tumour promoting activity on mice induced with skin cancer. Our preliminary tests indicated that seven types of cancer, including cervical, ovarian, breast and leukaemia, could be prevented by eating tapai ubi.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Dr Nayan KANWAL
Email: [email protected]