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Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(9):1560-7.

The antibacterial activity of compounds isolated from oakmoss against Legionella pneumophila and other Legionella spp.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Josai University, Saitama, Japan.


Oakmoss is a natural fragrance ingredient exhibiting highly specific, potent antibacterial activity against Legionella pneumophila, a causative agent of severe water-bone pneumonia. In the present study, the antibacterial activity of individual compounds isolated from oakmoss was investigated against L. pneumophila and other Legionella spp. A total of 18 known compounds and two minor novel compounds (i.e., 3-methoxy-5-methylphenyl-2,4-dihydroxy-6-methylbenzoate (compound 9) and 8-(2,4-dihydroxy-6-(2-oxoheptyl)-phenoxy)-6-hydroxy-3-pentyl-1H-isochromen-1-one (compound 20)) were purified from oakmoss. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against clinical and environmental isolates of L. pneumophila, L. bozemanii, L. micdadei, L. longbeachae, and L. dumoffii for 11 of the 20 compounds were less than 100 µg/mL (range 0.8-64.0 µg/mL). Novel compounds 9 and 20 exhibited potent antibacterial activity against L. pneumophila strains (MIC ranges of 1.3-8.0 µg/mL and 3.3-13.3 µg/mL, respectively) and also against four other Legionella species (MIC ranges of 0.8-8.0 µg/mL and 3.3-21.3 µg/mL, respectively). Time-kill assays indicated that compounds 9 and 20 kill bacteria at a concentration equivalent to 2×MIC after 1 h and 6 h co-incubations, respectively. While oakmoss and the purified components exhibited antibacterial activity against Legionella spp., they were not active against other Gram-negative and -positive bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus.

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