The legume plant family (Fabaceae) is a potential source of antimicrobial phytochemicals. Molecular diversity in phytochemicals of legume extracts was enhanced by germination and fungal elicitation of seven legume species, as established by RP-UHPLC–UV–MS. The relationship between phytochemical composition, including different types of skeletons and substitutions, and antibacterial properties of extracts was investigated. Extracts rich in prenylated isoflavonoids and stilbenoids showed potent antibacterial activity against Listeria monocytogenes and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at concentrations between 0.05 and 0.1% (w/v). Prenylated phenolic compounds were significantly (p <0.01) correlated with the antibacterial properties of the extracts. Furthermore, the position of the prenyl group within the phenolic skeleton also influenced the antibacterial activity. Overall, prenylated phenolics from legume seedlings can serve multiple purposes, e.g. as phytoestrogens they can provide health benefits and as natural antimicrobials they offer preservation of foods.
- Antimicrobial activity
- Fungal elicitation