Iron chelation by cranberry juice and its impact on Escherichia coli growth.
The various health benefits of Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) are well documented and have been attributed mainly to its antioxidant capacity and anti-adhesive activity. Several different mechanisms have been proposed to explain the possible role of cranberries, cranberry juice, and cranberry extracts in inhibiting bacterial growth. These mechanisms of action (i.e., inhibition of the microbial growth) have not been thoroughly studied. Here, we took advantage of current advances in microarray technology and used GeneChip® Escherichia coli genome 2.0 arrays to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the impact of cranberry juice on the properties of E. coli growth. The inclusion of cranberry juice in bacterial growth media was found to significantly impact the doubling time of E. coli. The gene expression results revealed altered expression of genes associated with iron transport and essential metabolic enzymes as well as with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and fumarate hydratase in these cultures. The altered expression of genes associated with iron transport was consistent with the strong iron chelating capability of proanthocyanidins, a major constituent of cranberry juice. The iron depletion effect was confirmed by adding exogenous iron to the growth media. This addition partially reversed the inhibitory effect on bacterial growth observed in the presence of cranberry juice/extracts.