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Pistachios have extracts whose antimicrobial effects have been shown to stop the growth of certain bacteria and viruses, a new Italian university study has found.

In a study published last month in the journal Plants, researchers at the University of Messina in Italy discovered that polyphenols — health-protective compounds — in American pistachios have antiviral qualities that were effective against Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, Listeria and Herpes symplex virus (HSV-1). High concentrations resulted in the reduction of HSV-1 in lab settings.

The research could boost demand for pistachios among companies that are developing novel topical or oral drug populations that could augment or replace traditional antibiotics amid growing concerns about resistance, according to the scientists.

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