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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012, Article ID 286216, 6 pages
Research Article

Effects of Saponins against Clinical E. coli Strains and Eukaryotic Cell Line

1Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biology, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, ul. Świętokrzyska 15, 25-406 Kielce, Poland
2Department of Radiobiology and Immunology, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, ul. Świętokrzyska 15, 25-406 Kielce, Poland
3Center for Biological Densitometry and Radiobiology, Institute of Chemistry and Nuclear Technology, ul. Dorodna 16, 03-195 Warsaw, Poland

Received 12 September 2011; Accepted 22 November 2011

Academic Editor: Celina Janion

Copyright © 2012 Michał Arabski 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.


Saponins are detergent-like substances showing antibacterial as well as anticancer potential. In this study, the effects of saponins from Quillaja saponaria were analyzed against prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Multidrug-resistant clinical E. coli strains were isolated from human urine. As eukaryotic cells, the CHO-K1 cell lines were applied. Antibacterial effect of ampicillin, streptomycin, and ciprofloxacin in the presence of saponins was measured by cultivation methods. Properties of saponins against CHO-K1 cells were measured by the MTT test, hemolysis assay and flow cytometry. Saponin from Quillaja saponaria has a cytotoxic effect at concentrations higher than 25 μg/mL and in the range of 12–50 μg/mL significantly increases the level of early apoptotic cells. Saponin at dose of 12 μg/mL enhances the six E. coli strains growth. We postulate that saponins increase the influx of nutrients from the medium into E. coli cells. Saponins do not have synergetic effects on antibacterial action of tested antibiotics. In contrary, in the presence of saponins and antibiotics, more CFU/mL E. coli cells were observed. This effect was similar to saponins action alone towards E. coli cells. In conclusion, saponins was cytotoxic against CHO-K1 cells, whereas against E. coli cells this effect was not observed.