Impact of food-relevant conditions and food matrix on the efficacy of prenylated isoflavonoids glabridin and 6,8-diprenylgenistein as potential natural preservatives against Listeria monocytogenes

Bombelli, Alberto; Araya-Cloutier, Carla; Vincken, Jean Paul; Abee, Tjakko; den Besten, Heidy M.W.


Prenylated isoflavonoids can be extracted from plants of the Leguminosae/Fabaceae family and have shown remarkable antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive food-borne pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes. Promising candidates from this class of compounds are glabridin and 6,8-diprenylgenistein. This research aimed to investigate the potential of glabridin and 6,8-diprenylgenistein as food preservatives against L. monocytogenes. Their antimicrobial activity was tested in vitro at various conditions relevant for food application, such as different temperatures (from 10 °C to 37 °C), pH (5 and 7.2), and in the presence or absence of oxygen. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of glabridin and 6,8-diprenylgenistein in vitro were between 0.8 and 12.5 μg/mL in all tested conditions. Growth inhibitory activities were similar at 10 °C compared to higher temperatures, although bactericidal activities decreased when the temperature decreased. Notably, lower pH (pH 5) increased the growth inhibitory and bactericidal activity of the compounds, especially for 6,8-diprenylgenistein. Furthermore, similar antimicrobial efficacies were shown anaerobically compared to aerobically at the tested conditions. Glabridin showed a more stable inhibitory and bactericidal activity when the temperature decreased compared to 6,8-diprenylgenistein. Therefore, we further determined the antimicrobial efficacy of glabridin against L. monocytogenes growth on fresh-cut cantaloupe at 10 °C. In these conditions, concentrations of glabridin of 50, 100 and 250 μg/g significantly reduced the growth of L. monocytogenes compared to the control, resulting on average in >1 Log CFU/g difference after 4 days compared to the control. Our results further underscored the importance of considering the food matrix when assessing the activity of novel antimicrobials. Overall, this study highlights the potential of prenylated isoflavonoids as naturally derived food preservatives.