Phenolic compounds were extracted with food grade solvent of acidified aqueous ethanol from leaves, berries, berry press cakes, and branches of Finnish berry plants and analyzed with HPLC-DAD, UPLC-DAD-ESI-MS and NMR. In addition, press cakes from two berry species and branches from one species were also extracted and analyzed with the same methods. The antioxidant activities of the extracts were evaluated using Folin-Ciocalteau, oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), DPPH free radical scavenging, and total radical trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) assays. The antibacterial activities were investigated against various Gram-negative and Gram-positive foodborne pathogens. The leaf extracts showed higher antioxidative activities (3-20 fold in ORAC assay, 10-20 fold in TRAP) than the berry extracts, in association with the higher contents of phenolic compounds in the leaf extracts; Strongest anti-bacterial effects was observed in the leaf extracts of lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides ssp. rhamnoides) and saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) on Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Bacillus cereus. However, the antibacterial efficacy varied with bacterial species and strains. The Folin-Ciocalteu, ORAC, and TRAP values was strongly correlated with the total content of flavonoids with less association shown with the content of total phenolics and flavonol glycosides. The results suggest a major contribution of pranthocyanidins and flavan-3-ols to the antioxidative activities of the extracts. The growth inhibition on Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus was clearly associated with the content of total phenolics and ellagitannins.
Keywords: Antibacterial activities; Antioxidative efficacies; Aqueous ethanol extracts; Berries; Leaves; Phenolic compounds; Structure-activity relationship.
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