Journal of food science and technology

Antibacterial activity and mode of action of selected glucosinolate hydrolysis products against bacterial pathogens.

PMID 26243895


Plants contain numerous components that are important sources of new bioactive molecules with antimicrobial properties. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are plant secondary metabolites found in cruciferous vegetables that are arising as promising antimicrobial agents in food industry. The aim of this study was to assess the antibacterial activity of two isothiocyanates (ITCs), allylisothiocyanate (AITC) and 2-phenylethylisothiocyanate (PEITC) against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. The antibacterial mode of action was also characterized by the assessment of different physiological indices: membrane integrity, intracellular potassium release, physicochemical surface properties and surface charge. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of AITC and PEITC was 100xa0μg/mL for all bacteria. The minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of the ITCs was at least 10 times higher than the MIC. Both AITC and PEITC changed the membrane properties of the bacteria decreasing their surface charge and compromising the integrity of the cytoplasmatic membrane with consequent potassium leakage and propidium iodide uptake. The surface hydrophobicity was also non-specifically altered (E. coli and L. monocytogenes become less hydrophilic; P. aeruginosa and S. aureus become more hydrophilic). This study shows that AITC and PEITC have strong antimicrobial potential against the bacteria tested, through the disruption of the bacterial cell membranes. Moreover, phytochemicals are highlighted as a valuable sustainable source of new bioactive products.