ABSTRACT

Bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) systems to communicate with each other and regulate microbial group behavior, such as the secretion of virulence factors, including biofilm formation. In order to explore safe, edible agents, the potential of star anise (SA) as an anti-QS and antibiofilm agent and its possible application in milk safety were investigated. Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and biosensor strain Chromobacterium violaceum were selected as test strains for QS, biofilm, and exopolysaccharide assays. The percent acidities and total plate counts were determined to evaluate the quality of biofilm-inoculated and noninoculated milk. The yield of SA extraction was 25.90% ± 0.2% (w/w). At sub-MIC, SA extract did not show any effect on bacterial growth. The production of violacein was inhibited by 89% by SA extract. The extract also inhibited the formation of biofilm by up to 87% in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition rates of 70.45%, 42.82%, and 35.66% were found for exopolysaccharide production. The swarming motility of S. aureus was reduced by about 95.9% by SA extract. Confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis confirmed that the development of biofilm architecture was hampered. It was found that SA extract could delay the spoilage of milk. In the endeavor to avoid drug resistance, pathogenesis, and resistance to biocides while improving food safety and avoiding health hazard issues arising from synthetic chemicals, SA extract could be used as a potential QS and biofilm inhibitor.

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