Why the Germs Found Inside Apples May Be Good for You

July 31, 2019

Apples overflow with bacteria—about 100 million bacteria, many of which are healthy. Apple aficionados who swallow the core not only get extra fiber, flavonoids, and flavor, they also ingest about 10 times more bacteria than people who discard the rough bits at the center, new research finds.

And for those hoping to “keep the doctor away,” go organic, suggests the new study, which was published in Frontiers in Microbiology. Organic varieties carry a more diverse community of germs than the conventional and so could be healthier for us to eat.

Apples are fruit celebrities, with more people eating them worldwide—83 million were grown in 2018 alone—than any other fruit, say the Graz University of Technology scientists who compared store-bought conventional apples with fresh-picked organics of the same size.

For each fruit, they analyzed bacteria found in the stem, peel, flesh, seeds, and calyx—the straggly bit at the bottom where the flower used to be.

Overall, both organic and conventional apples were host to a similar number of bacteria, with most of the 100 million germs hiding in the seeds, the researchers say. Discard the core, then, and an apple contains just 10 million species, mostly contained within the flesh.

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