In vitro antifungal effect of black cumin seed quinones against dairy spoilage yeasts at different acidity levels

J Food Prot. 2010 Dec;73(12):2291-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-73.12.2291.


The antiyeast activity of the black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) quinones dithymoquinone, thymohydroquinone (THQ), and thymoquinone (TQ) were evaluated in vitro with a broth microdilution method against six dairy spoilage yeast species. Antifungal effects of the quinones were compared with those of preservatives commonly used in milk products (calcium propionate, natamycin, and potassium sorbate) at two pH levels (4.0 and 5.5). THQ and TQ possessed significant antiyeast activity and affected the growth of all strains tested at both pH levels, with MICs ranging from 8 to 128 μg/ml. With the exception of the antibiotic natamycin, the inhibitory effects of all food preservatives against the yeast strains tested in this study were strongly affected by differences in pH, with MICs of ≥16 and ≥512 μg/ml at pH 4.0 and 5.5, respectively. These findings suggest that HQ and TQ are effective antiyeast agents that could be used in the dairy industry as chemical preservatives of natural origin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Food Preservatives / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Nigella sativa / chemistry*
  • Quinones / pharmacology*
  • Yeasts / drug effects*
  • Yeasts / growth & development


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Food Preservatives
  • Quinones