Seasonal variation of Brazilian red propolis: Antibacterial activity, synergistic effect and phytochemical screening

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Sep;107(Pt B):572-580. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.03.052. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the dry and rainy season on the antibacterial activity and chemical composition of the Brazilian red propolis. The samples were collected in rainy (RP-PER) and dry (RP-PED) seasons and analyzed by HPLC-DAD. The extracts were tested alone and in association with antibiotics against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. The HPLC analysis identified luteolin and quercetin as the main compounds. Seasonal variation was observed according to concentrations of the compounds. The MIC values against E. coli ranged from 128 μg/mL to 512 μg/mL (EC 06 and EC ATCC). The red propolis showed MIC values of 512 μg/mL against both strains of P. aeruginosa used in our study (PA03 and PA24) and against strains of Gram-positive bacteria S. aureus the MICs ranged from 64 μg/mL to ≥1024 μg/mL (SA10). A synergistic effect was observed when we combined the RP-PED with gentamicin against all the strains tested. When we combined the RP-PED with Imipenem, we only observed synergistic effect against P. aeruginosa. According to our synergistic activity results, the utilization of red propolis collected in the drier periods can be used as an adjuvant against multiresistant bacterial infections.

Keywords: Antibacterial activity; Phenolic compounds; Red propolis; Seasonal variation; Synergistic effect.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brazil
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Propolis / chemistry*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Seasons
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Phytochemicals
  • Propolis