European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 228, Issue 3, pp 467–475 | Cite as

Plant location and extraction procedure strongly alter the antimicrobial activity of murta extracts

  • Carolina Shene
  • Agnes K. Reyes
  • Mario Villarroel
  • Jorge Sineiro
  • Manuel Pinelo
  • Mónica RubilarEmail author
Original Paper


Leaves and fruits of Murta (Ugni Molinae Turcz.) growing in three locations of Chile with diverse climatic conditions were extracted by using ethanol/water mixtures at different ratios and the antimicrobial activity was assessed. Extracts containing the highest polyphenolic content were from murta plants grown nearer to the mountain (58 mg GAE/g murta), subjected to extreme summer/winter-day/night temperature changes and rainy regime. Extracts from leaves collected in the valley and coast contained 46 and 40 mg GAE/g murta, respectively. A mixture of 50% ethanol/water was the most efficient in extracting polyphenols, showing pure solvents—both water and ethanol—a lower extraction capacity. No correlation between antioxidant capacity and polyphenolic content was found. Extracts from Murta leaves provoked a decrease in the growing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus, and showed no activity against the beneficial, probiotic bacteria. A significant correlation between polyphenol content and antimicrobial activity on harmful bacteria was found. Myricetin glucoside and quercetin glucoside/glucuronide/dirhamnoside presumably contributed to the antimicrobial activity of the extract. The higher antimicrobial activity of leaves extracts compared to the fruits could be attributed to flavan-3-ols and other flavonol glycosides. Quercetin glucuronide, myricetin xyloside and flavan-3-ols in polymeric form were tentatively identified for the first time in murta extracts. Both extracts showed an antimicrobial activity similar to some commercial antibiotics, suggesting their suitability to replace synthetic antimicrobials in food.


Murta (Ugni molinae Turcz.) Polyphenols Antimicrobial activity Food supplements HPLC–DAD–MS Flavonol glycosides 



Authors acknowledge the financial support given by Conicyt through Fondecyt project 1060311 and technical support provided by Dirección de Investigación at Universidad de La Frontera.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolina Shene
    • 1
  • Agnes K. Reyes
    • 1
  • Mario Villarroel
    • 1
  • Jorge Sineiro
    • 2
  • Manuel Pinelo
    • 3
  • Mónica Rubilar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Centro de Genómica Nutricional Agroacuícola Unidad de Tecnología de ProcesosUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  2. 2.Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería (ETSE)Universidad de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Center for BioProcess EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark

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