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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340734

Research Project: Advance the Development of Technologies for Detecting and Determining the Stability and Bioavailability of Toxins that Impact Food Safety and Food Defense

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research

Title: Butterfly extracts show antibacterial activity

Author
item Rasooly, Reuven
item Do, Paula
item Balaban, Naomi
item Wolferstan, Paul - Aberystwyth University
item Nash, Robert - Aberystwyth University
item Yael, Gov - Tel Aviv University

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/17/2017
Publication Date: 6/20/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5801836
Citation: Rasooly, R., Do, P.M., Balaban, N., Wolferstan, P., Nash, R., Yael, G. 2017. Butterfly extracts show antibacterial activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 7:467-479. doi:org/10.4236/aim.2017.76036.

Interpretive Summary: The data presented suggest that extracts of several butterfly species have a potential to be used as a nontoxic, powerful bactericidal that acts against gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a major bacterial pathogen causing clinical infection and food-borne illnesses and affecting a large number of people throughout the world. The active compounds were identified as hydroxylated pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which are related to loline, a known insecticidal and insect-deterrent compound that is produced in grasses infected by fungus.

Technical Abstract: Extracts of several British butterfly species were tested and shown to possess powerful bactericidal activity against the gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The active compounds were identified as hydroxylated pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) related to loline with nitrogen at C-1. Lolines are known insecticidal and insect-deterrent compounds that are produced in grasses infected by endophytic fungal symbionts. Lolines also increase resistance of endophyte-infected grasses to insect herbivores. The butterfly-isolated pyrrolizidine alkaloids appear to be novel and non-toxic to human cells such as HaCat human skin keratinocytes and Hep-2 human epithelial cells. The discovery of novel agents from butterflies can lead to the development of new antimicrobials.