Antibacterial activity of caffeine against plant pathogenic bacteria
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The objective of the present study was to evaluate the antibacterial properties of a plant secondary metabolite - caffeine. Caffeine is present in over 100 plant species. Antibacterial activity of caffeine was examined against the following plant-pathogenic bacteria: Ralstonia solanacearum (Rsol), Clavibacter michiganesis subsp. sepedonicus (Cms), Dickeya solani (Dsol), Pectobacterium atrosepticum (Pba), Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum (Pcc), Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst), and Xanthomonas campestris subsp. campestris (Xcc). MIC and MBC values ranged from 5 to 20 mM and from 43 to 100 mM, respectively. Caffeine increased the bacterial generation time of all tested species and caused changes in cell morphology. The influence of caffeine on the synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins was investigated in cultures of plant pathogenic bacteria with labelled precursors: [3H]thymidine, [3H]uridine or 14C leucine, respectively. RNA biosynthesis was more affected than DNA or protein biosynthesis in bacterial cells treated with caffeine. Treatment of Pba with caffeine for 336 h did not induce resistance to this compound. Caffeine application reduced disease symptoms caused by Dsol on chicory leaves, potato slices, and whole potato tubers. The data presented indicate caffeine as a potential tool for the control of diseases caused by plant-pathogenic bacteria, especially under storage conditions.
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