Study: CBD Could Be Effective Preservative for Fresh Produce


CBD could be a useful antimicrobial treatment for fresh produce, according to a study by researchers at the University of South Florida’s Food Quality Laboratory, Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, published in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.

The researchers applied CBD oil to fresh fruit immediately after harvest, followed by storage at 1°C for eight days and 10°C for another 8 days. The strawberries treated with CBD were evaluated for visual quality and microbial load before and during storage and rated based on how they looked.

Results from this study, the researchers said, showed CBD oil “was effective at maintaining the visual appearance of strawberries, above the minimum threshold of a visual rating score of 3, compared to the fruit that was not treated.” The oil inhibited both yeast and mold growth on the fruit and the treated strawberries “had better overall quality compared to non-tread fruit,” the study authors said.

Other studies have suggested that CBD is a powerful anti-microbial. A study by Australian researchers published in June found that the cannabinoid killed all the strains of bacteria, including those that are highly resistant to existing antibiotics, and was effective at treating a skin infection in mice. Moreover, the bacteria did not become resistant to the CBD even after being exposed to it for 20 days – the period when bacteria can become antibiotic-resistant.

A University of Southern Denmark-led study published in March used CBD as a “helper compound” to enhance the effect of the antibiotic bacitracin against a staph infection. When researchers combined CBD with antibiotics, they “saw a more powerful effect than when treating with antibiotics alone” and in order to kill a certain number of bacteria they needed less antibiotics.

A study published in February found another cannabinoid – cannabigerol or CBG – was capable of treating and defeating the family of bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

The University of South Florida study, “Using Cannabidiol as a potential postharvest treatment to maintain quality and extend the shelf life of strawberries,” was published online ahead of print. It will be featured in the March 2021 issue of the journal.


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