The effect of low concentrations of ascorbic acid in microbial adherence in vitro

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Jul;73(4):245-50. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.73.4.245.


In the present study, we examined the in vitro effect of low concentrations of ascorbic acid (lower than normal plasma levels), on the adherence of five microbial strains (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) to human buccal epithelial cells (BEC) of healthy volunteers. The study reached the following conclusions: 1) the presence of ascorbic acid significantly reduces the ability of all tested strains (with the exception of Klebsiella pneumoniae) to adhere to BEC; 2) ascorbic acid interacts with the epithelial cells and decreases the adherence of all tested microorganisms. These findings may be of potential clinical significance.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Mouth Mucosa / microbiology
  • Reference Values


  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic Acid