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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 635348, 8 pages
Research Article

Effects of Mushroom and Chicory Extracts on the Physiology and Shape of Prevotella intermedia, a Periodontopathogenic Bacterium

1Sezione di Microbiologia, Dipartimento di Patologia e Diagnostica, Università di Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, 37134 Verona, Italy
2Centro Interdipartimentale di Tecnologie Biomediche, Università di Trento, Via delle Regole 101, 38100 Trento, Italy
3Sezione di Microscopia Elettronica, Dipartimento di Medicina di Laboratorio, APSS, 38100 Trento, Italy
4DIPTERIS, Università di Genova, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genova, Italy
5Department of Preventive Dentistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004, 1081 LA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6Dipartmento di Chimica Farmaceutica, Università di Pavia, Via Taramelli 12, 27100 Pavia, Italy
7Department of Cariology, Institute of Odontology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 450, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
8Department of Microbial Diseases, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, 256 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LD, UK

Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 11 July 2011

Academic Editor: Carla Pruzzo

Copyright © 2011 Caterina Signoretto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Contrary to the common assumption that food has a negative impact on oral health, research has shown that several foods contain a number of components with antibacterial and antiplaque activity. These natural compounds may be useful for improving daily oral hygiene. In this study we evaluate the mode of antimicrobial action of fractions of mushroom and red chicory extracts on Prevotella intermedia, a periodontopathogenic bacterium. The minimal inhibitory concentration corresponded to 0.5x compared to the natural food concentration for both extracts. This concentration resulted in a bacteriostatic effect in mushroom extract and in a slightly bactericidal effect in chicory extract. Cell mass continued to increase even after division stopped. As regards macromolecular synthesis, DNA was almost totally inhibited upon addition of either mushroom or chicory extract, and RNA to a lesser extent, while protein synthesis continued. Cell elongation occurred after septum inhibition as documented by scanning electron microscopy and cell measurement. The morphogenetic effects are reminiscent of the mode of action of antibiotics such as quinolones or -lactams. The discovery of an antibiotic-like mode of action suggests that these extracts can be advantageously employed for daily oral hygiene in formulations of cosmetic products such as mouthwashes and toothpastes.