J Dairy Sci. 2015 Dec 23. pii: S0022-0302(15)00941-8
The objective of this study was to evaluate in vitro the antimicrobial activity of Brazilian propolis from Urupema, São Joaquim, and Agua Doce (Santa Catarina State) and green propolis from Minas Gerais State, and the effects of propolis on bovine mammary gland explant viability.
The propolis samples differed in flavonoid content and antioxidant activity. Green propolis showed the highest content of flavonoids, followed by the sample from São Joaquim. The propolis from Urupema showed the lowest flavonoid content along with the lowest antioxidant activity. The total phenolics were similar across all studied samples. Despite phytochemical differences, the propolis samples from Minas Gerais, São Joaquim, and Urupema presented the same level of antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus strains. The reduction in S. aureus growth was, on average, 1.5 and 4 log10 times at 200 and 500 μg/mL, respectively. At concentrations of 1,000 μg/mL, all propolis reduced bacterial growth to zero.
On the other hand, when the propolis were tested against strains of Escherichia coli, the samples presented weak antimicrobial activity. Mammary explants were maintained in culture for 96 h without a loss in viability, demonstrating the applicability of the model in evaluating the toxicity of propolis. The origin and chemical composition of the propolis had an effect on mammary explant viability. We encountered inhibitory concentrations of 272.4, 171.8, 63.85, and 13.26 μg/mL for the propolis from Água Doce, Urupema, São Joaquim, and Mina Gerais, respectively. A clear association between greater antimicrobial activity and toxicity for mammary explants was observed. Of all propolis tested, the Urupema sample was noteworthy, as it showed antimicrobial activity at less toxic concentrations than the other samples, reducing bacterial growth to an average of 9.3 × 102 cfu/mL after 6 h of contact using 200 μg/mL of extract. The results demonstrate the potential for Brazilian propolis in the treatment of mastitis, although effectiveness is dependent on geographical origin and concentration.
The results from the mammary gland explant assays are promising for the investigation of other natural products with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used in the intramammary treatment of subclinical mastitis and during dry cow therapy.