`How The Olive Compound Hydroxytyrosol Helps Stop Infections

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How The Olive Compound Hydroxytyrosol Helps Stop Infections

Jun. 25, 2014
Julie Butler

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A com­pound found nat­u­rally in olives helps fight bac­te­r­ial infec­tions, accord­ing to an inter­na­tional patent appli­ca­tion by Span­ish sci­en­tists.

They say hydrox­y­ty­rosol and deriv­a­tives of it can dis­rupt quo­rum sens­ing (QS) – a way in which bac­te­ria talk’ to each other – thereby mak­ing infec­tions less vir­u­lent. With antibi­otic resis­tance increas­ing, this is seen as a promis­ing way of treat­ment.

Madrid-based patent appli­cant Seprox Biotech, which sells hydrox­y­ty­rosol (HT), claims that HT and its deriv­a­tives hydrox­y­ty­rosol acetate (HTA) and 3,4‑dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) have good anti-QS activ­ity, mak­ing them use­ful for pre­vent­ing and treat­ing many kinds of infec­tions.

Poten­tial usage

It said in its appli­ca­tion that in vivo uses could include phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prepa­ra­tions for the treat­ment of bac­te­r­ial infec­tion. Ex vivo uses include in the man­u­fac­ture of food, food pack­ag­ing, med­ical devices and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­po­si­tions, includ­ing appli­ca­tion to or use in the mak­ing of sur­faces – such as in med­ical devices and foods or food pack­ag­ing – to inhibit for­ma­tion of bac­te­r­ial biofilm.

Biofilm for­ma­tion – where microor­gan­isms latch onto a sur­face – is a big issue amid increas­ing use of implants, arti­fi­cial heart valves and so on, but can be extremely resis­tant to removal and dis­in­fec­tion, it said.

Liq­uid and solid hydrox­y­ty­rosol with other extracts con­tain­ing the phe­no­lic phy­to­chem­i­cal.

Wide range of bac­te­ria cov­ered

Titled Use of hydrox­y­ty­rosol and deriv­a­tives thereof as quo­rum quenchers,” the World Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty Orga­ni­za­tion patent appli­ca­tion lists a wide range of bac­te­r­ial species for which hydrox­y­ty­rosol and its deriv­a­tives could be used as quo­rum quenchers.

These include forms of Campy­lobac­ter, E. coli, Sal­mo­nella and Shigella – often cul­prits in food-borne ill­ness – and three types of Staph.

The appli­ca­tion describes tests of HT, HTA and DOPAC on sev­eral com­mon infec­tious bac­te­ria and val­i­da­tion against the QS biosen­sor strain C. vio­laceum. These led to the con­clu­sion that while the tested com­pounds can’t be con­sid­ered effec­tive antimi­cro­bial agents for the tested strains (as very high con­cen­tra­tions are needed), they did demon­strate QS inhibitor capac­ity.

Seprox Biotech said the for­mu­las which are the sub­ject of its patent appli­ca­tion can be syn­thetic or extracted from their nat­ural source, in which case a high level of purity is needed.

Hydrox­y­ty­rosol can be found in the leaves and fruits of the olive tree, and in extra vir­gin olive oil, and is espe­cially abun­dant in olive oil mill waste­water, from where it can be recov­ered, it said.


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