Influence of cranberry juice on glucan-mediated processes involved in Streptococcus mutans biofilm development

Caries Res. 2006;40(1):20-7. doi: 10.1159/000088901.


Cranberry juice (CJ) has biological properties that may provide health benefits. In this study, we investigated the influence of CJ (pH 5.5) on several activities in vitro associated with the development of Streptococcus mutans UA159 biofilms. The ability of CJ to influence the adherence of S. mutans to either saliva- (sHA) or glucan-coated hydroxyapatite (gsHA), and to inhibit the glucan production by purified glucosyltransferases adsorbed to sHA was determined. For the adherence assays, we used both uncoated and saliva-coated bacterial cells. Furthermore, we examined whether CJ interferes with the viability, development, polysaccharide composition and acidogenicity of S. mutans biofilms. A solution containing equivalent amounts of glucose, fructose and organic acids at pH 5.5 was used as negative control. The adherence of S. mutans (uncoated and saliva-coated) to either sHA or gsHA treated with 25% CJ (v/v) was remarkably reduced (40-85% inhibition compared to control: p < 0.05), indicating that CJ effectively blocked the bacterial adherence to binding sites in salivary pellicle and in glucans. In contrast, when the bacterial cells alone were treated with CJ they adhered to the similar untreated surfaces. Cranberry juice (25%, v/v) also inhibited the activities of surface-adsorbed GTF B and C (70-80% inhibition compared to control, p < 0.05). The effect of CJ on the viability of microorganisms in biofilms was not significant. Biofilm formation and accumulation were significantly reduced by topical applications of 25% CJ (v/v) twice daily with 1-min exposures (p < 0.05). The biomass and insoluble glucan content of the biofilms in addition to its acidogenicity were significantly reduced by cranberry treatments (p < 0.05). Our data show that cranberry juice inhibited glucan-mediated biofilm development and acid production, and holds promise as a natural product to prevent biofilm-related oral diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Beverages
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Glucosyltransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Hydroxyapatites
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus mutans / metabolism
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glucans
  • Hydroxyapatites
  • Plant Extracts
  • Glucosyltransferases