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Microbiol Res. 1997 Sep;152(3):239-46.

Antimicrobial action of propolis and some of its components: the effects on growth, membrane potential and motility of bacteria.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


The effect of the natural bee product propolis on the physiology of microorganisms was investigated using B. subtilis, E. coli and R. sphaeroides. An ethanolic extract of propolis had a bactericidal effect caused by the presence of very active, but labile, ingredients. The exact bactericidal effect of propolis was species dependent: it was effective against gram-positive and some gram-negative bacteria. Propolis and some of its cinnamic and flavonoid components were found to uncouple the energy transducing cytoplasmic membrane and to inhibit bacterial motility. These effects on the bioenergetic status of the membrane may contribute to the antimicrobial action of propolis and its observed synergism with selected antibiotics.

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