Comparative biocompatibility and antimicrobial studies of sorbic acid derivates.


Department of Biotechnology and Microbiology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, 4032, Hungary. Electronic address: [Email]


Nowadays, the sorbates are the third largest group of antimicrobial preservatives in food and pharmaceutical industries, following the parabens and benzoates whose safety is questioned by recent publications. A disadvantage of sorbates is their pH dependence, as their antimicrobial effect is greatly reduced in alkaline environment. The main, widely used sorbate derivatives are sorbic acid and potassium sorbate, no sorbic acid esters are involved in current industrial application. We aimed to test whether the esters of sorbic acid are capable to extend the antimicrobial spectrum of the original molecule while maintaining its advantageous biocompatibility profile. A comparative biocompatibility study of different derivatives (sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, isopropyl sorbate and ethyl sorbate) was carried out. In vitro cell viability assays of MTT (2-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-3,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide), Neutral Red (3-amino-7-dimethylamino-2-methylphenazine hydrochloride) and flow cytometry with propidium iodide and annexin were performed on Caco-2 cells. In case of in vivo toxicity study, G. mellonella larvae were injected with different concentrations of the test compounds. Time-kill tests were executed on reference strains of C. albicans, E. coli, and S. aureus. According to the MTT-assay, the IC50 values were the following: ethyl sorbate, sorbic acid <0.045% w/w, isopropyl sorbate 0.32% w/w, potassium sorbate >0.75% w/w, while Neutral Red values were >0.75% w/w for the esters and potassium sorbate and 0.66% w/w for sorbic acid. Flow cytometry results indicated the higher cell damage in case of isopropyl sorbate. However, the cytotoxic results of isopropyl sorbate, in vivo toxicity study on G. mellonella larvae did not show significant mortality. It was found, that the antimicrobial properties of isopropyl sorbate were outstanding compared to sorbic acid and potassium sorbate. These results indicate, that the use of sorbate esters can be advantageous, hence, further toxicity studies are needed to prove their safety.


Antimicrobials,Biocompatibility,Caco-2 cells,G. mellonella,Preservatives,Sorbates,

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