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Open Life Sciences

formerly Central European Journal of Biology

Editor-in-Chief: Ratajczak, Mariusz

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Volume 5, Issue 5


Volume 10 (2015)

Antibacterial activity of oleanolic and ursolic acids and their derivatives

Krystyna Wolska
  • Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Anna Grudniak
  • Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Beata Fiecek
  • Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Anna Kraczkiewicz-Dowjat
  • Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland
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/ Anna Kurek
  • Department of Bacterial Genetics, Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, 02-096, Warsaw, Poland
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Published Online: 2010-08-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-010-0045-x


Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing at an alarming rate and many commonly used antibiotics are no longer effective. Thus, there is considerable interest in investigating novel antibacterial compounds, such as the plant-derived pentacyclic triterpenoids, including oleanolic acid (OA), ursolic acid (UA) and their derivatives. These compounds can be isolated from many medicinal and crop plants and their antibacterial, antiviral, antiulcer and anti-inflammatory effects are well documented. OA and UA are active against many bacterial species, particularly Gram-positive species, including mycobacteria. They inhibit bacterial growth and survival, and the spectrum of minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values is very broad. In addition, OA, UA and their derivatives display potent antimutagenic activity. Studies to identify the cellular targets and molecular mechanisms of OA and UA action were initiated a few years ago and it has already been demonstrated that both acids influence bacterial gene expression, the formation and maintenance of biofilms, cell autolysis and peptidoglycan turnover. Before these compounds can be used clinically as antimicrobial agents, further extensive studies are required to determine their cytotoxicity and the optimum mode of their application.

Keywords: Oleanolic acid; Ursolic acid; Antibacterial activity; Antimutagenic effect; Cellular targets

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About the article

Published Online: 2010-08-20

Published in Print: 2010-10-01

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 5, Pages 543–553, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-010-0045-x.

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