An apple carries about 100 million bacteria—good luck washing them off | 9/20/2010 | Staff
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To the heroes among you who eat the whole apple: besides extra fiber, flavonoids and flavor, you're also quaffing 10 times as many bacteria per fruit as your core-discarding counterparts.

Is this a good thing? Probably. But it might depend on how your apples were grown.

Frontiers - Microbiology - Study - Apples - Bacterial

Published in Frontiers in Microbiology, a new study shows that organic apples harbor a more diverse and balanced bacterial community—which could make them healthier and tastier than conventional apples, as well as better for the environment.

Nowhere more so than your bowel.

Bacteria - Fungi - Viruses - Food - Gut

"The bacteria, fungi and viruses in our food transiently colonize our gut," says study senior author Professor Gabriele Berg, of Graz University of Technology, Austria. "Cooking kills most of these, so raw fruit and veg are particularly important sources of gut microbes."

To help us choose our colonic colonists wisely, Berg's group analyzed the microbiome of one of the world's favorite fruits: the apple.

Apples - Production - Berg - Studies - Content

"83 million apples were grown in 2018, and production continues to rise," says Berg. "But while recent studies have mapped their fungal content, less is known about the bacteria in apples."

The researchers compared the bacteria in conventional store-bought apples with those in visually matched fresh organic ones. Stem, peel, flesh, seeds and calyx—the straggly bit at the bottom where the flower used to be—were analyzed separately.

Apples - Numbers - Bacteria

Overall, the organic and conventional apples were occupied by similar numbers of bacteria.

"Putting together the averages for each apple component, we estimate a typical 240g apple contains roughly 100 million bacteria," reports Berg.

Majority - Bacteria - Seeds - Accounting - Remainder

The majority of the bacteria are in the seeds, with the flesh accounting for most of the remainder. So, if you discard the core—for shame! - your intake falls to nearer 10 million. The question is: are these bacteria good for you?

When it comes to gut health, variety is the spice of...
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