Growth inhibition of Streptococcus mutans with low xylitol concentrations

Curr Microbiol. 2008 Apr;56(4):382-5. doi: 10.1007/s00284-007-9076-6. Epub 2008 Jan 5.


No studies on the concentration dependency of the inhibition of Streptococcus mutans with xylitol are available. We studied xylitol-induced growth inhibition of two type strains, S. mutans NCTC 10449 and Ingbritt, and three clinical isolates of S. mutans. The strains were grown in Brain Hearth Infusion Medium in the presence of 0.001% (0.066 mM), 0.005% (0.33 mM), 0.01% (0.66 mM), 0.1% (6.6 mM), and 1% (66 mM) xylitol. Growth was followed by measuring the absorbance at a wavelength of 660 nm. The highest xylitol concentration tested in this study, 1%, showed mean inhibition percentages ranging from 61% to 76% when the growth inhibition of the five strains was compared to the control without xylitol at log-phase. For 0.1% xylitol, the inhibition percentages ranged from 22% to 59%. A concentration dependency was seen in the growth inhibition, with 0.01% xylitol being the lowest xylitol concentration inhibiting all five strains significantly (p < 0.001). The growth inhibition percentages determined for 0.01% xylitol, however, were low, and the inhibition was significantly weaker as compared to 0.1% and 1% xylitol. Our results suggest that low xylitol concentrations of 0.1% (6.6 mM) could inhibit mutans streptococci in vivo but even lower xylitol concentrations may be inhibitory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biomass
  • Culture Media
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Streptococcus mutans / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus mutans / growth & development*
  • Xylitol / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Culture Media
  • Xylitol