Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of bitter and sweet apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) kernels

Braz J Med Biol Res. 2009 Apr;42(4):346-52. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879x2009000400006.


The present study describes the in vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of methanol and water extracts of sweet and bitter apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) kernels. The antioxidant properties of apricot kernels were evaluated by determining radical scavenging power, lipid peroxidation inhibition activity and total phenol content measured with a DPPH test, the thiocyanate method and the Folin method, respectively. In contrast to extracts of the bitter kernels, both the water and methanol extracts of sweet kernels have antioxidant potential. The highest percent inhibition of lipid peroxidation (69%) and total phenolic content (7.9 +/- 0.2 microg/mL) were detected in the methanol extract of sweet kernels (Hasanbey) and in the water extract of the same cultivar, respectively. The antimicrobial activities of the above extracts were also tested against human pathogenic microorganisms using a disc-diffusion method, and the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of each active extract were determined. The most effective antibacterial activity was observed in the methanol and water extracts of bitter kernels and in the methanol extract of sweet kernels against the Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Additionally, the methanol extracts of the bitter kernels were very potent against the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli (0.312 mg/mL MIC value). Significant anti-candida activity was also observed with the methanol extract of bitter apricot kernels against Candida albicans, consisting of a 14 mm in diameter of inhibition zone and a 0.625 mg/mL MIC value.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Disk Diffusion Antimicrobial Tests
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Prunus / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts