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Open Access Research article

Bactericidal activities of GM flax seedcake extract on pathogenic bacteria clinical strains

Magdalena Zuk13*, Agata Dorotkiewicz-Jach2, Zuzanna Drulis-Kawa2, Malgorzata Arendt1, Anna Kulma1 and Jan Szopa13

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Biotechnology, Wrocław University, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148 Wroclaw, Poland

2 Institute of Genetics and Microbiology, Wroclaw University, Przybyszewskiego 63/77, 51-148 Wroclaw, Poland

3 Linum Fundation, Stabłowicka 147/149, 54-066 Wrocław, Poland

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:70  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-70

Published: 29 July 2014



The antibiotic resistance of pathogenic microorganisms is a worldwide problem. Each year several million people across the world acquire infections with bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant, which is costly in terms of human health. New antibiotics are extremely needed to overcome the current resistance problem.


Transgenic flax plants overproducing compounds from phenylpropanoid pathway accumulate phenolic derivatives of potential antioxidative, and thus, antimicrobial activity. Alkali hydrolyzed seedcake extract containing coumaric acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, and lignan in high quantities was used as an assayed against pathogenic bacteria (commonly used model organisms and clinical strains). It was shown that the extract components had antibacterial activity, which might be useful as a prophylactic against bacterial infection. Bacteria topoisomerase II (gyrase) inhibition and genomic DNA disintegration are suggested to be the main reason for rendering antibacterial action.


The data obtained strongly suggest that the seedcake extract preparation is a suitable candidate for antimicrobial action with a broad spectrum and partial selectivity. Such preparation can be applied in cases where there is a risk of multibacterial infection and excellent answer on global increase in multidrug resistance in pathogenic bacteria.

Antimicrobial compound; Phenolic acid; Flax; Alternative antibiotic; Flax seedcake