ACS Biomater Sci Eng. 2021 Feb 17. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01698. Online ahead of print.
Polyphenols have been extensively exploited in the biomedical field because of their wide range of bioactive properties and historical use as traditional medicines. They typically present antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiamyloidogenic, and/or antitumor activities. In particular, cork water extracts and their components, have been previously reported to present antioxidant and antiamyloidogenic properties. On the basis of this knowledge, we tested cork water extract (CWE), cork water enriched extract (CWE-E), vescalagin/castalagin (two of the main polyphenols present in CWE and CWE-E) for their antibacterial activity against four bacterial strains, namely, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), Staphylococcus aureus (SA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). Vescalagin and castalagin presented bactericidal activity against all the tested bacterial strains, in particular toward the methicillin-resistant ones, i.e., MRSA and MRSE, as well as the ability to inhibit the formation of biofilms and to disrupt preformed ones. Moreover, vescalagin/castalagin seem to modulate the normal assembly of the peptidoglycans at the bacteria surface, promoting the disruption of their cell wall, leading to bacterial cell death. We also demonstrate that vescalagin/castalagin can be loaded into alginate hydrogels to generate antibacterial biomaterials that are not toxic to eukaryotic cells.