The bactericidal effects of several olive compounds (nonenal, oleuropein, tyrosol, the dialdehydic form of decarboxymethyl elenolic acid either free [EDA] or linked to tyrosol [TyEDA] or to hydroxytyrosol [HyEDA]), other food phenolic compounds (catechin, epicatechin, eugenol, thymol, carvacrol, and carnosic acid), and commercial disinfectants (glutaraldehyde [GTA] and ortho-phthalaldehyde [OPA]), were tested against strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Escherichia coli. It was found that the bactericidal activities of olive GTA-like compounds (EDA, HyEDA, and TyEDA) were greater than those exerted by several food phenolic substances. Surprisingly, these olive antimicrobials were as active as the synthetic biocides GTA and OPA against the four bacteria studied. Thus, it has been proposed that the bactericidal activity of the main olive antimicrobials is primarily due to their dialdehydic structure, which is similar to that of the commercial biocides GTA and OPA. Our results clearly reveal that olive GTA-like compounds possess a strong bactericidal activity even greater than that of other food phenolic compounds or synthetic biocides.

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