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Antimicrobial properties of tomato leaves, stems, and fruit and their relationship to chemical composition

Christina C. Tam, Kevin Nguyen, Daniel Nguyen, Sabrina Hamada, Okhun Kwon, Irene Kuang, Steven Gong, Sydney Escobar, Max Liu, Jihwan Kim, Tiffany Hou, Justin Tam, Luisa W. Cheng, Jong H. Kim, Kirkwood M. Land, Mendel Friedman
BMC complementary medicine and therapies 2021 v.21 no.1 pp. 229
Bacillus cereus, Candida albicans, Lactobacillus, Salmonella enterica, Solanum pimpinellifolium, Trichomonas vaginalis, Tritrichomonas foetus, antibacterial properties, antifungal properties, antiprotozoal properties, caffeic acid, chemical composition, chlorogenic acid, color, fruit peels, fruits, glycoalkaloids, leaves, powders, quercetin, stems, tomatoes, vagina, wild relatives
BACKGROUND: We previously reported that the tomato glycoalkaloid tomatine inhibited the growth of Trichomonas vaginalis strain G3, Tritrichomonas foetus strain D1, and Tritrichomonas foetus-like strain C1 that cause disease in humans and farm and domesticated animals. The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance requires development of new tools to enhance or replace medicinal antibiotics. METHODS: Wild tomato plants were harvested and divided into leaves, stems, and fruit of different colors: green, yellow, and red. Samples were freeze dried and ground with a handheld mill. The resulting powders were evaluated for their potential anti-microbial effects on protozoan parasites, bacteria, and fungi. A concentration of 0.02% (w/v) was used for the inhibition of protozoan parasites. A high concentration of 10% (w/v) solution was tested for bacteria and fungi as an initial screen to evaluate potential anti-microbial activity and results using this high concentration limits its clinical relevance. RESULTS: Natural powders derived from various parts of tomato plants were all effective in inhibiting the growth of the three trichomonads to varying degrees. Test samples from leaves, stems, and immature ‘green’ tomato peels and fruit, all containing tomatine, were more effective as an inhibitor of the D1 strain than those prepared from yellow and red tomato peels which lack tomatine. Chlorogenic acid and quercetin glycosides were present in all parts of the plant and fruit, while caffeic acid was only found in the fruit peels. Any correlation between plant components and inhibition of the G3 and C1 strains was not apparent, although all the powders were variably effective. Tomato leaf was the most effective powder in all strains, and was also the highest in tomatine. S. enterica showed a minor susceptibility while B. cereus and C. albicans fungi both showed a significant growth inhibition with some of the test powders. The powders inhibited growth of the pathogens without affecting beneficial lactobacilli found in the normal flora of the vagina. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that powders prepared from tomato leaves, stems, and green tomato peels and to a lesser extent from peels from yellow and red tomatoes offer potential multiple health benefits against infections caused by pathogenic protozoa, bacteria, and fungi, without affecting beneficial lactobacilli that also reside in the normal flora of the vagina.