Hibiscus sabdariffa extract is known to have antioxidant, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial properties. However, their effects against foodborne viruses are currently unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the antiviral effects of aqueous extracts of H. sabdariffa against human norovirus surrogates (feline calicivirus (FCV-F9) and murine norovirus (MNV-1)) and hepatitis A virus (HAV) at 37 °C over 24 h. Individual viruses (~5 log PFU/ml) were incubated with 40 or 100 mg/ml of aqueous hibiscus extract (HE; pH 3.6), protocatechuic acid (PCA; 3 or 6 mg/ml, pH 3.6), ferulic acid (FA; 0.5 or 1 mg/ml; pH 4.0), malic acid (10 mM; pH 3.0), or phosphate buffered saline (pH 7.2 as control) at 37 °C over 24 h. Each treatment was replicated thrice and plaque assayed in duplicate. FCV-F9 titers were reduced to undetectable levels after 15 min with both 40 and 100 mg/ml HE. MNV-1 was reduced by 1.77 ± 0.10 and 1.88 ± 0.12 log PFU/ml after 6 h with 40 and 100 mg/ml HE, respectively, and to undetectable levels after 24 h by both concentrations. HAV was reduced to undetectable levels by both HE concentrations after 24 h. PCA at 3 mg/ml reduced FCV-F9 titers to undetectable levels after 6 h, MNV-1 by 0.53 ± 0.01 log PFU/ml after 6 h, and caused no significant change in HAV titers. FA reduced FCV-F9 to undetectable levels after 3 h and MNV-1 and HAV after 24 h. Transmission electron microscopy showed no conclusive results. The findings suggest that H. sabdariffa extracts have potential to prevent foodborne viral transmission.
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Funding for this research was provided partly by the Professional Development Award to D. D’Souza from the UT-Graduate School and partly by the University of Tennessee-Institute of Agriculture (TEN #00391), which is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also acknowledge Dr. Dunlap at UT-Advanced Microscopy Center for his assistance with the TEM observation and Dr. Malcond Valladares for his assistance with the Hibiscus calyx extract preparations.
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Joshi, S.S., Dice, L. & D’Souza, D.H. Aqueous Extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa Calyces Decrease Hepatitis A Virus and Human Norovirus Surrogate Titers. Food Environ Virol 7, 366–373 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12560-015-9209-1
- Hibiscus extracts
- Murine norovirus (MNV-1)
- Feline calicivirus (FCV-F9)
- Hepatitis A virus (HAV)