When we came through the Panama Canal into the Pacific, our timing was just great. A cholera epidemic had broken out in Peru and was spreading north into Central America. Because we move slowly, we spent more than a year in Central and S. America before heading across the S. Pacific. Each of the countries we visited had daily reports of people sick with cholera, people who had just died of cholera, and plenty of warnings about what to do and not to do regarding food.
We didn't get cholera, though we did not avoid eating in local restaurants and even vendor's food stalls on occasion (limiting our food choices to deep-fried foods that were not touched by human hands, just metal tongs used to remove the food from the boiling oil). One of the frequent warnings was to avoid ceviche. Ceviche is, for those who haven't tried it, raw fish and vegetables marinated in lime juice. The citric acid of the juice "cooks" the fish. It's delicious!
One Costa Rican newspaper quoted a doctor in their country to the effect that the citric acid in lemon or lime juice kills the cholera bacterium.
I have been doing some internet searches to see how much truth there is to that doctor's statement.
Here is a short rundown of what I've found so far:
a. Cholera belongs to a family of bacteria called vibrio
. - now to the research.
b. Citric acid has been cited as an agent against mouth bacteria - anaerobic in the root canal of teeth, and bacteria in plaque around molars. that's a good thing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...p;dopt=Abstract
c. this research abstract site: http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110004718476/en/
, "Antibacterial Activity of Citrus Fruit Juices Against Vibrio Species". Abstract of the article: "Lemon, lime and sudachi juices were tested for antibacterial activity against seven strains of Vibrio species. All juices were effective in inhibiting the growth of the Vibrio strains. Citric acid, the major organic acid in these juices, was found to be responsible for inhibiting the growth of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Sauce prepared from sudachi juice showed a strong bactericidal activity against Vibrio parahaemolyticus, whereas the sauce adjusted to higher pH values had no bacterial activity. Diluted sudachi juice or citric acid solution also had antibacterial activity independently. These results suggest that citrus fruit juices are effective in preventing infection with Vibrio species."
That's as far as I've gotten so far.
Citric acid is tastiest when in the form of lemon or lime juice. It is also found in the ethnic food section of some groceries as "sour salt". And packages of unsweetened lemonade mix (in the US, "Kool-Aid(tm)"). I've used reconstituted "Kool-Aid" to make lemon meringue pie, and nobody was the wiser to the substitution.
Just to add to my store of esoteric information.