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J Electron Microsc (Tokyo). 2009 Oct;58(5):315-20. doi: 10.1093/jmicro/dfp024. Epub 2009 May 18.

Morphological and ultrastructural changes in the cell structure of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 following treatment with Quercus infectoria nut galls.

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Electron Microscopy Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand.


Some information is available on the oak (Quercus infectoria) nut gall as an effective medicinal plant against Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7. However, its antibacterial mechanisms have not yet been elucidated. In this study, some antibacterial actions against STEC O157:H7 were investigated by observing cell viability as well as morphological and ultrastructural changes. An ethanolic extract of Q. infectoria demonstrated inhibitory and bactericidal effects on all of the strains tested with minimal inhibition concentrations (MICs) at 0.78-1.56 mg ml(-1) and minimal bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) at 1.56-3.12 mg ml(-1). Cell numbers treated with 4MIC of the extract decreased at least two log-fold within 4 h and were completely killed within 12 h. Scanning electron microscopy illustrated a complete loss of surface appendages and pronounced morphological changes at MIC and 2MIC. The whole cell collapsed at 4MIC. Ultrastructural changes from corresponding transmission electron micrographs further verified that damages in the treated cells increased with the increase in the extract concentrations. At MIC (0.78 mg ml(-1)), there was some evidence that the cytoplasmic membranes of the treated E. coli were bulging and/or ruptured, and the cells appeared to be discharging intracellular materials. At 2MIC, the outer membrane of the treated E. coli which was attached to the cell wall became separated from the wall. Disruption in the outer wall and cytoplasmic membranes, especially at the polar regions of the cells occurred and some vacuolization appeared. At 4MIC, the damage to E. coli cells was extensive, and there was loss of their cellular integrity.

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