Phenolic Compounds Diminish Antibiotic Resistance of Staphylococcus Aureus Clinical Strains

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 22;15(10):2321. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102321.


There is a growing body of evidence that flavonoids show antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The mechanisms of action of phenolic compounds on bacterial cell have been partially attributed to damage to the bacterial membrane, inhibition of virulence factors such as enzymes and toxins, and suppression of bacterial biofilm formation. What is more, some natural polyphenols, aside from direct antibacterial activity, exert a synergistic effect when combined with common chemotherapeutics. Many studies have proved that in synergy with antibiotics plant flavonoids pose a promising alternative for therapeutic strategies against drug resistant bacteria. In this review most recent reports on antimicrobial action of polyphenols on Staphylococcus aureus strains are described, highlighting where proven, the mechanisms of action and the structure⁻activity relationships. Since many reports in this field are, to some extent, conflicting, a unified in vitro and in vivo susceptibility testing algorithms should be introduced to ensure the selection of effective antibacterial polyphenolic compounds with low cytotoxicity and minimal side effects.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; antibacterial activity; antibiotics; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Synergism
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polyphenols / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols