Antimicrobial effects of onion (Allium cepa L.) peel extracts produced via subcritical water extraction against Bacillus cereus strains as compared with ethanolic and hot water extraction


In this study, the antimicrobial effects of an onion peel extract prepared using subcritical water extraction (SWE) were assessed for possible development into new bio-functional materials. The extraction temperatures were controlled to 110 and 160°C. At 0.15, 0.3, 0.6, and 1.2 mg extract/mL of broth, the growth inhibition and bactericidal activity of SWE extracts against Bacillus cereus KCCM 40935 and KCCM 11341 were compared with those of ethanol and hot-water extracts. In the case of B. cereus KCCM 40935, it appeared that over 0.6 mg/mL of SWE (110°C) extract exerted a bactericidal effect, and 1.2 mg/mL of SWE (160°C) extract exerted a bacteriostatic effect during culturing, and also that B. cereus KCCM 11341 was more resistant than B. cereus KCCM 40935. Furthermore, our results demonstrated that the death time of 107 CFU/mL of B. cereus KCCM 40935 treated with SWE (110°C) extract at 1.2 mg/mL was 60 min at maximum in 0.8% NaCl. Additionally, the cells damaged by SWE extract were observed with a SEM. It was suggested that an extract of onion peels prepared via SWE (110°C) could be used as a functional biomaterial for the food or pharmaceutical industries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Lanzotti V. The analysis of onion and garlic. J. Chromatogr. A 1112: 3–22 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Griffiths G, Trueman L, Crowther T, Thomas B, Smith B. Onions-A global benefit to health. Phytother. Res. 16: 603–615 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Taran M, Rezaeian M, Izaddoost M. In vitro antitrichomonas activity of Allium hirtifolium (Persian shallot) in comparison with metronidazole. Iran J. Publ. Health 35: 92–94 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC, Katan MB, Kromhout D. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: The Zutphen elderly study. Lancet 342: 1007–1011 (1993)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Coghill D, Juffs HS. Incidence of psychrotrophic sporeforming bacteria in pasteurized milk and cream products and effect of temperature on their growth. Aust. J. Dairy Technol. 34: 150–153 (1979)

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Johnston DW, Bruce J. Incidence of thermoduric psychrotrophs in milk produced in the west of Scotland. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 52: 333–337 (1982)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Wong HC, Chang MH, Fan JY. Incidence and characterization of Bacillus cereus isolates contaminating dairy products. Appl. Environ. Microb. 54: 699–702 (1988)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Ahmed AAH, Moustafa MK, Marth EH. Incidence of Bacillus cereus in milk and some milk products. J. Food Protect. 46: 126–128 (1983)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Larsen HD, Jørgensen K. The occurrence of Bacillus cereus in Danish pasteurized milk. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 46: 173–176 (1997)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    te Giffel MC, Beumer RR, Granum PE, Rombouts FM. Isolation and characterization of Bacillus cereus from pasteurized milk in household refrigerators in the Netherlands. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 34: 307–318 (1997)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Ramos L, Kristenson EM, Brinkman UAT. Current use of pressurized liquid extraction and subcritical water extraction in environmental analysis. J. Chromatogr. A 975: 3–29 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Ibanez E, Kubatova A, Senorans FJ, Cavero S, Reglero G, Hawthorne SB. Subcritical water extraction of antioxidant compounds from rosemary plants. J. Agr. Food Chem. 51: 375–382 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Garcia-Marino M, Rivas-Gonzalo JC, Ibanez E, Garcia-Moreno C. Recovery of catechins and proanthocyanidins from winery byproducts using subcritical water extraction. Anal. Chim. Acta 563: 44–50 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Kim JW, Mazza G. Optimization of extraction of phenolic compounds from flax shives by pressurized low polarity water. J. Agr. Food Chem. 54: 7575–7584 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Cacace JE, Mazza G. Pressurized low polarity water extraction of lignans from whole flaxseed. J. Food Eng. 77: 1087–1095 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Ju ZY, Howard LR. Subcritical water and sulfured water extraction of anthocyanins and other phenolics from dried red grape skin. J Food Sci. 70: 270–2076 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Choi MPK, Chan KKC, Leung HW. Huie CW. Pressurized liquid extraction of active ingredients (ginsenosides) from medicinal plants using non-ionic surfactant solutions. J. Chromatogr. A 983: 153–162 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Pineiro Z, Palma M, Barroso CG. Determination of catechins by means of extraction with pressurized liquids. J. Chromatogr. A 1026: 19–23 (2004)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Shotipruk A, Kiatsongserm J, Pavasant P, Goto M, Sasaki M. Pressurized hot water extraction of anthraquinones from the roots of Morinda citrifolia. Biotechnol. Progr. 20: 1872–1875 (2004)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Lamm LJ, Yang Y. Off-line coupling of subcritical water extraction with subcritical water chromatography via a sorbent trap and thermal desorption. Anal. Chem. 75: 2237–2242 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Viljoen A, Van Vuuren S, Ernst E, Klepser M, Demirci B, Baser H. Osmitopsis astericoides (Asteraceae)-the antimicrobial activity and essential oil composition of a Cape-Dutch remedy. J. Ethnopharmacol. 88: 137–143 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Morris CE, Monier JE, Jacques MA. Methods for observing microbial biofilms directly on leaf surfaces and recovering them for isolation of culturable microorganisms. Appl. Environ. Microb. 63: 1570–1576 (1997)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Puupponen-Pimia R, Nohynek L, Meier C, Kahkonen M, Heinonen M, Hopia A, Oksman-Caldentey KM. Antimicrobial properties of phenolic compounds from berries. J. Appl. Microbiol. 90: 494–507 (2001)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Gupta N, Porter TD. Garlic and garlic-derived compounds inhibit human squalene monooxygenase. J. Nutr. 131: 1662–1667 (2001)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Tansey MR, Appleton JA. Inhibition of fungal growth by garlic extract. Mycologia 67: 409–413 (1975)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Bakri IM, Douglas CWI. Inhibitory effect of garlic extract on oral bacteria. Arch. Oral Biol. 50: 645–651 (2005)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Ramos FA, Takaishi Y, Shirotori M, Kawaguchi Y, Tsuchiya K, Shibata H. Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of quercetin oxidation products from yellow onion (Allium cepa) skin. J. Agr. Food Chem. 54: 3551–3557 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Rose P, Whiteman M, Moore PK, Zhu YZ. Bioactive salk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxide metabolites in the genus Allium: The chemistry of potential therapeutic agents. Nat. Prod. Rep. 22: 351–368 (2005)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Pszczola DE. Antimicrobials: Setting up additional hurdles to ensure food safety. Food Technol. -Chicago 56: 99–107 (2002)

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Smith RM. Extractions with superheated water. J. Chromatogr. A 975: 31–46 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hyun-Dong Paik.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kim, W.J., Lee, K.A., Kim, KT. et al. Antimicrobial effects of onion (Allium cepa L.) peel extracts produced via subcritical water extraction against Bacillus cereus strains as compared with ethanolic and hot water extraction. Food Sci Biotechnol 20, 1101 (2011).

Download citation


  • antimicrobial effect
  • onion
  • subcritical water extraction
  • Bacillus cereus
  • SEM