Differential effects of various soy isoflavone dietary supplements (nutraceuticals) on bacterial growth and human fibroblast viability

  • Karolina Pierzynowska University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology
  • Agata Rzeszotko University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology
  • Aleksandra Blendowska University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology
  • Ewa Wieczerzak University of Gdansk, Faculty of Chemistry
  • Sylwia Rodziewicz-Motowidlo University of Gdansk, Faculty of Chemistry
  • Ewa Piotrowska University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology
  • Grzegorz Wegrzyn University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology
Keywords: genistein, soy isoflavone extracts, anti-menopausal dietary supplements, bacterial growth, viability of human cells


Flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds present in many food products, affect growth of different bacterial species when tested as purified or synthetic substances. They can also influence gene expression in human cells, like fibroblasts. Here, we asked if soy isoflavone extracts, commonly used in many products sold as anti-menopausal dietary supplements, influence bacterial growth similarly to synthetic isoflavone, genistein. Four commercially available products were tested in amounts corresponding to genistein concentrations causing inhibition of growth of Vibrio harveyi (a model bacterium sensitive to this isoflavone) and Escherichia coli (a model bacterium resistant to genistein). Differential effects of various extracts on V. harveyi and E. coli growth, from stimulation, through no changes, to inhibition, were observed. Moreover, contrary to genistein, tested extracts caused a decrease (to different extends) in viability of human dermal fibroblasts. These results indicate that effects of various soy isoflavone extracts on bacterial growth and viability of human cells are different, despite similar declared composition of the commercially available products.


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