Folia Microbiologica

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 547–554 | Cite as

Polyphenols as resistance modulators in Arcobacter butzleri

  • Vanessa Sousa
  • Ângelo Luís
  • Mónica Oleastro
  • Fernanda Domingues
  • Susana FerreiraEmail author
Original Article


Arcobacter butzleri is an emerging human and animal pathogen for which an increased prevalence of resistance to antibiotics has been observed, and so alternative compounds to modulate resistance of A. butzleri are required. This work aims to study the potential use of several polyphenols as efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) and to evaluate their interaction with antibiotics, in order to enhance antibiotic activity against A. butzleri. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of (−)-epicatechin, (+)-catechin, rutin, gallic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, resveratrol, pterostilbene, and pinosylvin was determined, in absence and presence of four known EPIs. Subsequently, ethidium bromide accumulation in presence of subinhibitory concentrations of polyphenols was evaluated, and the synergistic potential of the compounds with antibiotics was assessed by checkerboard dilution test. Only stilbenes presented activity against A. butzleri, with MIC values ranging between 64 and 512 μg/mL. The MIC determination of the polyphenols in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of known EPIs showed that efflux pumps play a role in the resistance to these compounds. Stilbenes also induced a higher intracellular accumulation of ethidium bromide, indicating that they may inhibit the activity of efflux pumps. Checkerboard assays showed that several combinations of polyphenol/antibiotic had an additive effect against A. butzleri. Overall, the results indicate that some polyphenols reduce A. butzleri resistance to antibiotics, suggesting the potential of stilbenes as EPIs. The potential of resveratrol and pinosylvin as resistance modulators was evidenced, insofar as these compounds can even revert antibiotic resistance. Therefore, the use of polyphenols as resistance modulators could be an alternative to overcome the decreasing susceptibility of A. butzleri to antibiotics.


Funding information

Susana Ferreira was supported by a fellowship (SFRH/BPD/101959/2014) from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia and co-financed by Fundo Social Europeu. This work was supported by FEDER funds through the POCI - COMPETE 2020 - Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalization in Axis I—Strengthening research, technological development, and innovation (Project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007491) and National Funds by FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology (Project UID/Multi/00709/2013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CICS-UBI-Centro de Investigação em Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade da Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Infectious Diseases, National Reference Laboratory for Gastrointestinal InfectionsNational Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo JorgeLisbonPortugal

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