Antimicrobial effects of Finnish plant extracts containing flavonoids and other phenolic compounds

Int J Food Microbiol. 2000 May 25;56(1):3-12. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1605(00)00218-x.


Plant phenolics, especially dietary flavonoids, are currently of growing interest owing to their supposed functional properties in promoting human health. Antimicrobial screening of 13 phenolic substances and 29 extracts prepared from Finnish plant materials against selected microbes was conducted in this study. The tests were carried out using diffusion methods with four to nine microbial species (Aspergillus niger, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis). Flavone, quercetin and naringenin were effective in inhibiting the growth of the organisms. The most active plant extracts were purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L.) against Candida albicans, meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim.), willow herb (Epilobium angustifolium L.), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus L.) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) against bacteria, and white birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.), pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and potato (Solanum tuberosum. L.) against gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Calcium / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Finland
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Food Preservation
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Calcium