A New Water-Soluble Bactericidal Agent for the Treatment of Infections Caused by Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacterial Strains

Delia Francesca Chillura Martino, Alessandro Presentato, Rosa Alduina, Domenico Nuzzo, Federica Zabini, Lorenzo Albanese, Antonino Scurria, Elena Piacenza, Delia Chillura Martino, Rosaria Ciriminna, Francesco Meneguzzo, Mario Pagliaro, Domenico Nuzzo

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Grapefruit and lemon pectin obtained from the respective waste citrus peels via hydrodynamic cavitation in water only are powerful, broad-scope antimicrobials against Gram-negative and -positive bacteria. Dubbed IntegroPectin, these pectic polymers functionalized with citrus flavonoids and terpenes show superior antimicrobial activity when compared to commercial citrus pectin. Similar to commercial pectin, lemon IntegroPectin determined ca. 3-log reduction in Staphylococcus aureus cells, while an enhanced activity of commercial citrus pectin was detected in the case of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells with a minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) of 15 mg mL−1. Although grapefruit and lemon IntegroPectin share equal MBC in the case of P. aeruginosa cells, grapefruit IntegroPectin shows boosted activity upon exposure of S. aureus cells with a 40 mg mL−1 biopolymer concentration affording complete killing of the bacterial cells. Insights into the mechanism of action of these biocompatible antimicrobials and their effect on bacterial cells, at the morphological level, were obtained indirectly through Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy and directly through scanning electron microscopy. In the era of antimicrobial resistance, these results are of great societal and sanitary relevance since citrus IntegroPectin biomaterials are also devoid of cytotoxic activity, as already shown for lemon IntegroPectin, opening the route to the development of new medical treatments of polymicrobial infections unlikely to develop drug resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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