A review of the current evidence of fruit phenolic compounds as potential antimicrobials against pathogenic bacteria.


Laboratório de Microbiologia de Alimentos, Departamento de Nutrição, Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Fruits are among the main natural sources of phenolic compounds (PC). These compounds exert important antioxidant properties primarily associated with the presence of hydroxyl groups in their molecular structure. Additionally, the antibacterial effects of fruit phenolic-rich extracts or individual PC commonly found in fruits have been an emerging research focus in recent years. This review discusses by first time the available literature regarding the inhibitory effects of fruit PC on pathogenic bacteria, including not only their direct effects on bacterial growth and survival, but also their effects on virulence factors and antibiotic resistance, as well as the possible mechanism underlying these inhibitory properties. The results of the retrieved studies show overall that the antibacterial effects of fruit PC vary with the target bacteria, type of PC and length of exposure to these compounds. The type of solvent and procedures used for extraction and fruit cultivar also seem to influence the antibacterial effects of phenolic-rich fruit extracts. Fruit PC have shown wide-spectrum antibacterial properties besides being effective antibiotic resistance modifying agents in pathogenic bacteria and these effects have shown to be associated with interruption of efflux pump expression/function. Furthermore, fruit PC can cause down regulation of a variety of genes associated with virulence features in pathogenic bacteria. Results of available studies indicate the depolarization and alteration of membrane fluidity as mechanisms underlying the inhibition of pathogenic bacteria by fruit PC. These data reveal fruit PC have potential antimicrobial properties, which should be rationally exploited in solutions to control pathogenic bacteria.


Antibacterial effects,Antibiotic resistance,Bacterial virulence,Phenolics,fruit,

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