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Phytochemicals in Lowbush Wild Blueberry Inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7 by Damaging Its Cell Membrane

Lacombe, Alison, Tadepalli, Shravani, Hwang, Chen-An, Wu, Vivian C.H.
Foodborne pathogens & disease 2013 v.10 no.11 pp. 944
Escherichia coli O157, Vaccinium angustifolium, anthocyanins, antibacterial properties, blueberries, cell membranes, mechanism of action, membrane permeability, phenolic acids, phytochemicals, proanthocyanidins, transmission electron microscopy, viability
The antimicrobial activity and model of action of polyphenolic compounds extracted from lowbush wild blueberries (LWB) were studied against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Polyphenols in LWB were extracted using 80% vol/vol methanol and designated as total blueberry phenolics (TBP). The fraction was further separated by a C-18 Sep-Pak cartridge into monomeric phenolics acids (MPA) and anthocyanins plus proanthocyanidins (A&P). The A&P fraction was further separated into anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins using a LH-20 Sephadex column. Each fraction was diluted in 0.85% wt/vol NaCl, inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 to achieve 8 log colony-forming units (CFU)/mL, and incubated at 25°C for 1 h. The survival populations of E. coli O157:H7 in the phenolic fractions were determined by a viable cell counts method. The permeability of the cell membrane of E. coli O157:H7 was determined using LIVE/DEAD viability assay, and the damage was visualized by using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Significant (p<0.05) reductions of 5 log CFU/mL of E. coli O157:H7 were observed for MPA at 0.4 g/L gallic acid equivalents (GAE), A&P at 0.9 g/L GAE, and anthocyanins at 0.65 g/L GAE. Reductions of 6–7 CFU/mL were observed for MPA at 0.8 g/L GAE, A&P at 1.8 g/L GAE, and anthocyanins at 1.3 g/L GAE compared to the control. The cell membrane of E. coli O157:H7 exhibited a significantly increased permeability when treated with proanthocyanidins (0.15 g/L GAE), A&P (0.45 g/L GAE), anthocyanins (0.65 g/L GAE), and TBP (0.14 g/L GAE). TEM confirmed the inactivation and increased membrane permeability of E. coli O157:H7. This study demonstrated the antimicrobial effect of polyphenols from LWB against E. coli O157:H7 and the probable mode of action.