Bioactive berry compounds-novel tools against human pathogens

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2005 Apr;67(1):8-18. doi: 10.1007/s00253-004-1817-x. Epub 2004 Dec 2.


Berry fruits are rich sources of bioactive compounds, such as phenolics and organic acids, which have antimicrobial activities against human pathogens. Among different berries and berry phenolics, cranberry, cloudberry, raspberry, strawberry and bilberry especially possess clear antimicrobial effects against, e.g. Salmonella and Staphylococcus. Complex phenolic polymers, like ellagitannins, are strong antibacterial agents present in cloudberry and raspberry. Several mechanisms of action in the growth inhibition of bacteria are involved, such as destabilisation of cytoplasmic membrane, permeabilisation of plasma membrane, inhibition of extracellular microbial enzymes, direct actions on microbial metabolism and deprivation of the substrates required for microbial growth. Antimicrobial activity of berries may also be related to antiadherence of bacteria to epithelial cells, which is a prerequisite for colonisation and infection of many pathogens. Antimicrobial berry compounds may have important applications in the future as natural antimicrobial agents for food industry as well as for medicine. Some of the novel approaches are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Salmonella / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Plant Extracts