Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 8–18 | Cite as

Bioactive berry compounds—novel tools against human pathogens

  • Riitta Puupponen-PimiäEmail author
  • Liisa Nohynek
  • Hanna-Leena Alakomi
  • Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey


Berry fruits are rich sources of bioactive compounds, such as phenolics and organic acids, which have antimicrobial activities against human pathogens. Among different berries and berry phenolics, cranberry, cloudberry, raspberry, strawberry and bilberry especially possess clear antimicrobial effects against, e.g. Salmonella and Staphylococcus. Complex phenolic polymers, like ellagitannins, are strong antibacterial agents present in cloudberry and raspberry. Several mechanisms of action in the growth inhibition of bacteria are involved, such as destabilisation of cytoplasmic membrane, permeabilisation of plasma membrane, inhibition of extracellular microbial enzymes, direct actions on microbial metabolism and deprivation of the substrates required for microbial growth. Antimicrobial activity of berries may also be related to antiadherence of bacteria to epithelial cells, which is a prerequisite for colonisation and infection of many pathogens. Antimicrobial berry compounds may have important applications in the future as natural antimicrobial agents for food industry as well as for medicine. Some of the novel approaches are discussed.


Tannin Lactic Acid Bacterium EGCG Ellagic Acid Carvacrol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Professor Veli Kauppinen for his ideas and valuable discussions during the berry research at VTT. The secretarial work of Oili Lappalainen is gratefully acknowledged. Tekes, the National Technology Agency is acknowledged for financial support through the berry projects during the years 1998–2000 and 2001–2004.


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Copyright information

©  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liisa Nohynek
    • 1
  • Hanna-Leena Alakomi
    • 1
  • Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey
    • 1
  1. 1.VTT BiotechnologyVTTFinland

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