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Resveratrol: Potential Antibacterial Agent against Foodborne Pathogens

Bacterial foodborne pathogens are a significant health burden and the recent emergence of pathogenic resistant strains due to the excessive use of antibiotics makes it more difficult to effectively treat infections as a result of contaminated food. Awareness of this impending health crisis has spurred the search for alternative antimicrobials with natural plant antimicrobials being among the more promising candidates as these substances have good acceptability and likely low toxicity levels as they have long been used in traditional medicines. Resveratrol (3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene) is a naturally occurring stilbenoid which has been gaining considerable attention in medical field due to its diverse biological activities - it has been reported to exhibit antioxidant, cardioprotective, anti-diabetic, anticancer, and antiaging properties. Given that resveratrol is phytoalexin, with increased synthesis in response to infection by phytopathogens, there has been interest in exploring its antimicrobial activity. This review aims to provide an overview of the published data on the antibacterial activity of resveratrol against foodborne pathogens, its mechanisms of action as well as its possible applications in food packing and processing; in addition we also summarize the current data on its potential synergism with known antibacterials and future research and applications.