In vitro efficacy of phytotherapeutics suggested for prevention and therapy of urinary tract infections



To analyse the therapeutic efficacy of various phytotherapeutics and their antimicrobial compounds with regard to strain specificity and dose dependence.


A representative strain collection of 40 uropathogenic bacteria isolated from complicated and uncomplicated urinary tract infection was subjected to various virulence assays (bacterial growth, mannose-sensitive agglutination, and motility) to determine the therapeutic impact of various compounds with antimicrobial activity. We tested proanthocyanidins (PAC), d-mannose, rosemary extract (Canephron®), and isothiocyanates (Angocin®).


d-mannose efficiently blocked the adhesive properties of all type 1 fimbriae-positive isolates in low concentration (0.2%), but showed no bacteriostatic effect. PAC also actively blocked agglutination, but the concentration varied considerably among isolates. Escherichia coli required the highest concentration (10%), while Enterobacter cloacae responded to low concentrations (0.1%). Allyl isothiocyanates not only impaired agglutination in all tested isolates, but also had a dramatic impact on flagella-mediated motility in Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Proteus mirabilis (p < 0.001). The administration of rosemary extracts revealed a strong bacteriostatic effect in growth assays. All tested strains were strongly inhibited by the addition of 10 μg/ml or 1 μg/ml of purified rosemary extractions with the exception of Serratia marcescens. Morganella morganii responded only to 10 μg/ml.


Phytotherapeutics and small-molecular compounds like mannosides have the potential to become an integral part in a multi-modal treatment concept for the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. Their efficiency can be optimised when strain specificities and therapeutic concentrations are taken into account.

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Author information




JM: project development, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing. SS: supervision. CGS: project development and supervision. GM: project development, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe Magistro.

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Marcon, J., Schubert, S., Stief, C.G. et al. In vitro efficacy of phytotherapeutics suggested for prevention and therapy of urinary tract infections. Infection 47, 937–944 (2019).

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  • Urinary tract infections
  • Phytotherapeutics
  • Prevention
  • Therapy
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC)