Berry phenolics selectively inhibit the growth of intestinal pathogens

Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä (Corresponding Author), Liisa Nohynek, Sonja Hartmann-Schmidlin, M. Kähkönen, M. Heinonen, Kaisu Määttä-Riihinen, Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    336 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims: To investigate the effects of berries and berry phenolics on pathogenic intestinal bacteria and to identify single phenolic compounds being responsible for antimicrobial activity.

    Methods and Results: Antimicrobial activity of eight Nordic berries and their phenolic extracts and purified phenolic fractions were measured against eight selected human pathogens. Pathogenic bacterial strains, both Gram‐positive and Gram‐negative, were selectively inhibited by bioactive berry compounds. Cloudberry and raspberry were the best inhibitors, and Staphylococcus and Salmonella the most sensitive bacteria. Phenolic compounds, especially ellagitannins, were strong inhibitory compounds against Staphylococcus bacteria. Salmonella bacteria were only partly inhibited by the berry phenolics, and most of the inhibition seemed to originate from other compounds, such as organic acids. Listeria strains were not affected by berry compounds, with the exception of cranberry. Phenolic compounds affect the bacteria in different mechanisms.

    Conclusions: Berries and their phenolics selectively inhibit the growth of human pathogenic bacteria.

    Significance and Impact of the Study: Antimicrobial properties of berries could be utilized in functional foods. Furthermore these compounds would be of high interest for further evaluation of their properties as natural antimicrobial agents for food and pharmaceutical industry.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)991 - 1000
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • antimicrobial activity
    • berry phenolics
    • cloudberry
    • ellagitannins
    • intestinal pathogens
    • raspberry


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