Lemon juice is not only acidic and gives dishes a fresh note: it may prevent people from being infected with noroviruses. According to a study by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), lemon juice could help against noroviruses because it is suitable as a disinfectant. EAT SMARTER presents the research results.

The study

Can lemon juice help against norovirus? The virologists can already prove through earlier research that fruit extracts such as orange or pomegranate juice can reduce the infectivity of noroviruses. In recent studies, Grant Hansman, a researcher at the German Cancer Research Center, found that the virus particles change their shape after binding to the citrate. A subsequent X-ray structure analysis showed that the citrate from lemon juice or from citrate-containing disinfectants binds to exactly the point where the virus comes into contact with the body cells during the infection process.

These results are proof that the citrate reduces the ability of noroviruses to become infectious and that lemon juice could help against noroviruses: “Perhaps a few drops of lemon juice, which one usually drizzles on the oyster, are a good protection against infection,” speculates virologist Grant Hansman. He also estimates that the amount of citrate in the juice of lemon could be enough to decontaminate hands.

The norovirus

The violent pathogens trigger severe gastrointestinal complaints and are the most common cause of gastrointestinal outbreaks in schools and hospitals. The extremely contagious virus is transmitted “fecal-orally”, i.e. via contaminated hands or food.