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IRL scientist on “most-cited” research papers list

IRL scientist on “most-cited” research papers list

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Media Release
March 18, 2008

IRL scientist on “most-cited” research papers list

A research paper by IRL senior research scientist, Dr Lai Yeap Foo on the identity of the active compounds in cranberries has made the list of “most-cited research articles” on a leading US scientific publisher’s website [ most_cited/overall.html].

The paper [A-Type Proanthocyanidin Trimers from Cranberry that Inhibit Adherence of Uropathogenic P-Fimbriated Escherichia coli ", Foo, L. Y.; Lu, Y.; Howell, A. B.; Vorsa, N. J. Nat. Prod.; (Article); 2000; 63(9); 1225-1228.] was co-authored with Dr Amy Howell – a plant pathologist from Rutgers University in New Jersey and Dr Nicholi Vorsa, who is director of the University’s Marucci Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension Centre. Their article was published in 2000 in the Journal of Natural Products by ACS Publishing, the publisher of the world's leading peer-reviewed research journals in the chemical and related sciences.

The paper arises from Dr Foo’s work in isolating specific oligomeric compounds from cranberry fruit, called condensed tannins or proanthocyanidins (PACs), which were found to prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching to cells from the urinary tract.

He became involved after Amy Howell – who was researching the scientific evidence behind the accepted wisdom that cranberries promoted urinary health - was advised “the one person in the world who can solve the complex chemistry is Dr Lai Yeap Foo at Industrial Research in New Zealand”.

“The Americans knew that cranberries inhibited urinary tract infection, but the chemical structure of the compounds responsible for this were a little beyond them. We were able to satisfactorily accomplish this in our Lower Hutt laboratory,” he recalls.

In September last year, Dr Howell and representatives of Ocean Spray – the world’s largest producer of cranberry products – visited IRL during a tour in New Zealand and presented Dr Foo with an award in recognition of his major contribution to international molecular nutrition and food science.

The scientific confirmation of the health benefits of cranberries sparked huge growth in the cranberry industry in the US and has also seen cranberries being grown on the West Coast for the New Zealand market.


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