Antimicrobial activity of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) cultivar Avenger against pathogenic bacteria, phytopathogenic filamentous fungi and yeast

J Appl Microbiol. 2018 Jan;124(1):126-135. doi: 10.1111/jam.13629. Epub 2017 Dec 7.


Aims: The objective of this study was to show whether the edible part of broccoli has antibacterial and antifungal activity against micro-organism of importance in human health and vegetable spoilage, and to test if this effect was partially due to antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).

Methods and results: Crude extracts were obtained from florets and stems of broccoli cultivar Avenger and the inhibitory effect was demonstrated against pathogenic bacteria (Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus xylosus, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, Proteus vulgaris), phytopathogenic fungi (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Asperigillus niger) and yeasts (Candida albicans and Rhodotorula sp.). It was shown that samples treated with proteolytic enzymes had a reduction of approximately 60% in antibacterial activity against Staph. xylosus, suggesting that proteinaceous compounds might play a role in the inhibitory effect. Antimicrobial components in crude extracts were thermoresistant and the highest activity was observed under acidic conditions. It was shown that antifungal activity of broccoli's crude extracts might not be attributed to chitinases.

Conclusions: Organic broccoli cultivar Avenger has antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria, yeast and phytophatogenic fungi. Data suggest that this effect is partially due to AMPs.

Significance and impact of the study: Broccoli's crude extracts have activity not only against pathogenic bacteria but also against phytophatogenic fungi of importance in agriculture. We suggest for first time that the inhibitory effect is probably due to AMPs.

Keywords: antimicrobial; broccoli; pathogenic bacteria; plant pathogen fungi; yeast.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Fungi / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Yeasts / drug effects
  • Yeasts / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Extracts