Chemical signature and antimicrobial activity of Central Portuguese Natural Mineral Waters against selected skin pathogens

  • Ana Sofia Oliveira
  • Cátia Vicente Vaz
  • Ana Silva
  • Sandra Saraiva Ferreira
  • Sara Correia
  • Raquel Ferreira
  • Luiza Breitenfeld
  • José Martinez-de-Oliveira
  • Rita Palmeira-de-Oliveira
  • Cláudia Pereira
  • Maria Teresa Cruz
  • Ana Palmeira-de-OliveiraEmail author
Original Paper


The common therapeutic indications of Portuguese Natural Mineral Waters (NMWs) are primarily for respiratory, rheumatic and musculoskeletal systems. However, these NMWs have been increasingly sought for dermatologic purposes. Opposing to what is observed in the major European Thermal Centres, there are few scientific evidences supporting the use of Portuguese NMWs for clinical applications. The aim of this study was to characterize the antimicrobial profile of individual NMWs from the central region of Portugal and correlate the results with their physicochemical characterization. An extensive multivariate analysis (principal component analysis) was also performed to further investigate this possible correlation. Six collection strains representing skin microbiota, namely Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Corynebacterium amycolatum, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Cutibacterium acnes, were analysed, and their antimicrobial profile was determined using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute M07-A10, M45-A2, M11-A6 and M27-A3 microdilution methods. Different NMWs presented different antimicrobial profiles against the strains used; the physicochemical composition of NMWs seemed to be correlated with the different susceptibility profiles. Cutibacterium acnes showed a particularly high susceptibility to all NMWs belonging sulphurous/bicarbonated/sodic ionic profile, exhibiting microbial reductions up to 65%. However, due to the complex physicochemical composition of each water an overall conclusion regarding the effect of a specific ion on the growth of different microorganisms is yet to be known.


Natural Mineral Waters Physicochemical properties Antimicrobial activity Skin microbiota 



The authors would like to acknowledge all Thermal Centres involved in the project and the financial support provided by FEDER funds through the POCI—COMPETE 2020—Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalisation in Axis I—Strengthening research, technological development and innovation (Project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007491) and National Funds by FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology (Project UID/Multi/00709/2013), Provere Termas Centro—Projeto Âncora de Inovação, co-funded by Centro 2020, Portugal 2020 and European Union funds.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 58 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Sciences Research Centre (CICS-UBI)University of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.Center for Neuroscience and Cell BiologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and Center of Mathematics and ApplicationsUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  4. 4.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  5. 5.Child and Woman’s Health DepartmentCova da Beira Hospital CentreCovilhãPortugal
  6. 6.Labfit–Health Products Research and Development LdaUBImedicalCovilhãPortugal
  7. 7.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  8. 8.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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