Antimicrobial and cytotoxic knotwood extracts and related pure compounds and their effects on food-associated microorganisms

Anna Liisa Välimaa, Ulla Honkalampi-Hämäläinen, Suvi Pietarinen, Stefan Willför, Bjarne Holmbom, Atte von Wright*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Knotwood or bark extracts prepared from 30 species of hard and soft wood trees as well as selected pure compounds (lignans, stilbenes and flavonoids) were assayed for their antimicrobial activity against a battery of both gram positive and negative bacteria, yeasts, and filamentous fungi (Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Lactobacillus plantarum, Escherichia coli, Salmonella infantis, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Candida albicans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aspergillus fumigatus and Penicillium brevicompactum). By far the most consistent antibacterial and antifungal properties were associated with extracts of Pinus species. These extracts showed also cytotoxicity against a mouse hepatoma cell line. Both antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties correlated with the stilbene content of the extracts. Purified stilbenes showed the most consistent antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities, while purified lignans had marginal effects, only. The results suggest that stilbenes account both for the antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties of Pinus knotwood extracts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Antifungal activity
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Food microorganisms
  • Knotwood
  • Pinosylvin
  • Pinus
  • Stilbenes


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