European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 242, Issue 9, pp 1495–1502 | Cite as

Antibacterial effect of kaempferol and (−)-epicatechin on Helicobacter pylori

  • Ricardo A. Escandón
  • Miguel del Campo
  • Remigio López-Solis
  • Elías Obreque-SlierEmail author
  • Héctor ToledoEmail author
Original Paper


Phenolic compounds are generated by the secondary metabolism of plants and have been associated with antibacterial properties. Among bacteria affecting human health, Helicobacter pylori has been associated with gastric cancer. There is limited information about the effect of individual or grouped phenolics on H. pylori growth. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of phenolics being part of highly complex food or beverage matrices. The aim of this work was to evaluate the in vitro antibacterial effect of kaempferol and (−)-epicatechin, both individually and combined, on H. pylori in liquid and solid cultures and in co-cultures with AGS human gastric carcinoma cells. Bacterial viability tests were performed in liquid cultures with subsequent CFU/mL counting and in solid cultures by measuring inhibition haloes. Kinetic curves of bacterial growth inhibition in the presence of those phenolics, and the protective effect of (−)-epicatechin on AGS cells against H. pylori infection were characterized. (−)-Epicatechin and kaempferol displayed antibacterial activities, being (−)-epicatechin more effective than kaempferol. After the combined application of both phenols, a synergistic effect of kaempferol plus low but not high doses of (−)-epicatechin was observed. Finally, (−)-epicatechin yielded protection to AGS cells against H. pylori infection. (−)-Epicatechin and kaempferol, both individually and combined, have antibacterial properties and protective effect on H. pylori infection.


Helicobacter pylori Antimicrobial effect Flavonoids Phenols 



This study was partially funded by Program U-INICIA VID 2011 (EO) and by grants University of Chile 11/05 (EO) and Fondecyt-Chile 1120126 (HT). We would also want to thank Mr. Nicanor Villaroel for his technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Compliance with ethics requirements

The study was conducted according to the recommendations of the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo A. Escandón
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel del Campo
    • 1
  • Remigio López-Solis
    • 1
  • Elías Obreque-Slier
    • 2
    Email author
  • Héctor Toledo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Program of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine-ICBMUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Department of Agro-Industry and Enology, Faculty of Agronomical SciencesUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile

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