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Biol Pharm Bull. 2018;41(2):208-212. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b17-00711.

Antimicrobial Activity of the Phenolic Compounds of Prunus mume against Enterobacteria.

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Center of Regional Revitalization, Research Center for Food and Agriculture, Wakayama University.
Faculty of Biology-oriented Science and Technology, Kindai University.
Wakayama Agricultural Processing Research Corporation.
School of Medicine, Wakayama Medical University.


Mume fruit, the Japanese apricot (Prunus mume SIEB. et ZUCC.), is popular in Japan and is mostly consumed in the pickled form called umeboshi. This fruit is known to have anti-microbial properties, but the principal constituents responsible for the antimicrobial properties have not yet been elucidated. We investigated the antimicrobial activities of the phenolic compounds in P. mume against enterobacteria. In this study, growth inhibitory activities were measured as an index of the antibacterial activities. The phenolic compounds were prepared from a byproduct of umeboshi called umesu or umezu (often translated as "mume vinegar"). Umesu or umezu phenolics (UP) contain approximately 20% phenolic compounds with p-coumaric acid as a standard and do not contain citric acid. We observed the inhibitory effects of UP against the growth of some enterobacteria, at a relatively high concentration (1250-5000 µg/mL). Alkali hydrolysates of UP (AHUP) exhibited similar antibacterial activities, but at much lower concentrations of 37.5-300 µg/mL. Since AHUP comprises hydroxycinnamic acids such as caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and ferulic acid, the antibacterial activities of each of these acids were examined. Our study shows that the phenolic compounds in P. mume other than citric acid contribute to its antimicrobial activity against enterobacteria in the digestive tract.


Prunus mume; antimicrobial; enterobacteria; p-coumaric acid; phenolic compound

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