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Keywords:

  • cranberry;
  • flavonols;
  • glucans;
  • glycolysis;
  • proanthocyanidins;
  • Streptococcus mutans

Abstract

Aims:  To investigate the influence of several phenolic compounds isolated from cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon) on some of the virulence properties of Streptococcus mutans associated with glucan synthesis and acidogenicity.

Methods and Results:  Individual phenolic acids, flavonols and proanthocyanidins were isolated by semi-preparative high-performance liquid chromatography from fresh cranberry fruit. Flavonols and proanthocyanidins (at 500 μmol l−1) moderately inhibited the activity of surface-adsorbed glucosyltransferases (GTFs) B and C and F-ATPases (15–35% inhibition; < 0·05), and also disrupted acid production by S. mutans cells without affecting bacterial viability. Phenolic acids displayed minimal biological effects. Quercetin-3-arabinofuranoside, myricetin and procyanidin A2 displayed the most inhibition of S. mutans virulence traits; a combination of these compounds displayed enhanced effects.

Conclusions:  Specific flavonoids from cranberries exhibit statistically significant but moderate biological activity against S. mutans. The biological activity of cranberry extracts may be a result from the complex mixture of flavonoids rather than a single active compound.

Significance and Impact of Study:  This is the first study to identify the bioactive constituents in cranberry against an oral bacterium using highly purified isolated compounds. The combined effects of specific flavonols and proanthocyanidins from cranberry on GTFs activity, acid production and acid tolerance of S. mutans make them attractive compounds to fully explore for their anti-biofilm and cariostatic properties.