Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.11, 4709-4718, 2021
Antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity of thymoquinone against Shigella flexneri
Shigella flexneri (Sh. flexneri), a common foodborne pathogen, has become one of the main threats to food safety and human health due to its high pathogenicity and persistent infection. The objective of this study was to explore the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activities and the possible mechanism of thymoquinone (TQ) against Sh. flexneri. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) of TQ against Sh. flexneri were 0.4 and 0.5 mg/mL, respectively. TQ showed bactericidal activity against Sh. flexneri in culture medium and milk system. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) observations demonstrated that TQ could induce abnormal cell morphology and destroy cell membrane. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis suggested that TQ could inhibit protein synthesis in Sh. flexneri. Also, at sub-inhibitory concentrations (SICs), TQ exhibited an inhibitory effect on Sh. flexneri biofilm formation, which was confirmed by crystal violet quantitative analysis and SEM observation. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analyses revealed that TQ downregulated the expression of genes involved in Sh. flexneri biofilm formation. Thus, TQ has potential as a natural antimicrobial and anti-biofilm agent to address the contamination and infection caused by Sh. flexneri.