Antimicrobial and Antiradical Activity of Extracts Obtained from Leaves of Five Species of the Genus Bergenia: Identification of Antimicrobial Compounds

Microb Drug Resist. 2017 Sep;23(6):771-780. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2016.0251. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


An important focus of modern medicine is the search for new substances and strategies to combat infectious diseases, which present an increasing threat due to the growth of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Another problem concerns free radicals, which in excess can cause several serious diseases. An alternative to chemical synthesis of antimicrobial and antiradical compounds is to find active substances in plant raw materials. We prepared extracts from leaves of five species of the genus Bergenia: B. purpurascens, B. cordifolia, B. ligulata, B. crassifolia, and B. ciliata. Antimicrobial and antiradical features of extracts and raw materials were assessed, and the quantities of phenolic compounds were determined. We also evaluated, using high-performance liquid chromatography, the amounts of arbutin and hydroquinone, compounds related to antimicrobial activity of these raw materials. The strongest antiradical properties were shown by leaves of B. crassifolia and B. cordifolia, the lowest by leaves of B. ciliata. The antiradical activity of extracts showed a strong positive correlation with the amount of phenols. All raw materials have significant antimicrobial properties. Among them, the ethyl acetate extracts were the most active. Antimicrobial activity very weakly correlated with the amount of arbutin, but correlated very strongly with the contents of both hydroquinone and phenolic compounds. Additional experiments using artificially prepared mixtures of phenolic compounds and hydroquinone allowed us to conclude that the most active antimicrobial substance is hydroquinone.

Keywords: Bergenia sp.; antimicrobial activity; antiradical activity; arbutin; hydroquinone; phenolic compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arbutin / chemistry
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Hydroquinones / chemistry
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Saxifragaceae / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Hydroquinones
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Arbutin
  • hydroquinone