Author(s): Cushnie TP, Hamilton VE, Chapman DG, Taylor PW, Lamb AJ
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Abstract AIM: The flavonol galangin, an antimicrobial constituent of the traditional medicines propolis and Helichrysum aureonitens, is being assessed as part of an ongoing investigation into the antibacterial activity of flavonoids. The present study sought to establish whether galangin has any aggregatory effect on bacterial cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: In preparatory time-kill assays, 50 microg ml(-1) of galangin was found to reduce colony counts of c. 5 x 10(7) CFU ml(-1)Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 6571 by approximately 15 000-fold during 60 min of incubation. Subsequent light microscopy studies demonstrated significant increases in the number of large clusters of bacterial cells in populations treated with the flavonol. CONCLUSION: Data presented here show that galangin causes aggregation of bacterial cells. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The finding that galangin causes bacterial cells to clump together may implicate the cytoplasmic membrane as a target site for this compound's activity. More importantly, this observation indicates that decreases in CFU numbers detected in time-kill and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) assays in previous investigations were at least partially attributable to this aggregatory effect. This raises the possibility that galangin is not genuinely bactericidal in action, and calls into question the suitability of time-kill and MBC assays for determining the nature of activity of naturally occurring flavonoids.
This article was published in J Appl Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Probiotics & Health