That's Some Tomato, Drug Shuttle (Abstract Science: Jan. 23-27)
Eureka Staff

That's Some Tomato, Drug Shuttle (Abstract Science: Jan. 23-27)

Using tomato genetics to build a tastier fruit, why salmonella-infected mice eat more, using polymers to navigate drugs through stomach acid. 

Drug-Bearing Mini Subs

(Fierce Biotech, 1/24/17, Amirah Al Idrus)

Stomach acid can really interfere with drug performance, so to get around this impediment researchers have developed tiny submarine-like motors that interact with stomach acid to help the drug move through the stomach and release a pre-loaded drug. A team from the University of San Diego-San Diego recently tested the magnesium spheres in mice. The spheres are coated with a very thin layer of gold and a pH-sensitive polymer in which the drug is embedded. Once the liquid in the stomach reaches a neutral pH, the polymer coating dissolves, releasing the drug.

Pavlovian Mice

(Science, 1/26/17, Mitch Leslie)

Most of us loathe the thought of eating when food poisoning attacks. Mice can have quite a different effect. The microbe that causes salmonella poisoning actually encourages mice to eat more, a recent study appearing in Cell found. The research led by Janelle Ayers of the Salk Institute of Biological Studies in San Diego, suggests that the same mechanism that induces mice to eat more when infected with salmonella bacteria might be able to use the same trick to increase eating in cancer patients and old folks, who often lose their desire for food. 

What a Tomato!

(The Scientist, 1/26/17, Bob Grant)

Supermarket tomatoes will never compare to fresh off the vine. Not so fast. Scientists have cracked part of the tomato’s genetic flavor code, and identified a pathway that can significantly improve the taste of tomatoes. The findings, reported this week in Science, may help commercial-scale growers breathe life back into the fruit.  


—Compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Regina McEnery