The antimicrobial effect of wine on Bacillus cereus in simulated gastro-intestinal conditions

Miguel Vaz, Tim Hogg, José António Couto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of wine against Bacillus cereus vegetative cells and spores. The results clearly show that wine exerts a strong inactivation effect against vegetative cells of B. cereus. The red wine tested inactivated stationary phase cultures to undetectable numbers in less than 10 s. Thus, further inactivation assays were carried out with wine diluted with water (1:4 and 1:8). Diluted wine 1:4 caused a reduction of approximately 5 log cycles on viable cell counts in 20 s. On the other hand, B. cereus spores were found to be highly resistant to wine exposure. The influence of wine components (organic acids, ethanol and phenolic compounds) was investigated on vegetative cells. The wine organic acids tested exhibited a strong inactivation effect, and, when combined with ethanol, a slight synergistic effect was observed. The wine phenolic compounds assayed displayed no activity against the vegetative cells at the concentrations tested. At the simulated gastric conditions studied (in the presence of food), wine diminished considerably the number of B. cereus viable cells in addition to the effect of the synthetic gastric fluid. The behaviour of B. cereus spores under gastro-intestinal conditions was also evaluated. In a consumption-like scenario, the addition of wine led to lower total counts (vegetative cells + spores) of B. cereus in the simulated intestine conditions, showing that wine inhibits the proliferation of the vegetative cells obtained from the germination of spores. This work provides evidence that consumption of wine during a meal may diminish the number of viable cells of B. cereus and reduces the impact of the germination of spores that may occur in the small intestine, thus lowering the risk of toxi-infection that may be caused by this pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalFood Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Bacillus cereus
  • Cell inactivation
  • Gastro-intestinal conditions
  • Wine


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