Antimicrobial Efficacy of Treatments Based on Plant Compounds

Case ID:

Researchers at the University of Arizona have demonstrated synergistic effects of silver and natural plant antimicrobials resulting in an effective, inexpensive, safe treatment with a wide variety of potential applications. Silver may be used as an alternative disinfectant in applications in which the use of traditional disinfectants such as chlorine may result in the formation of toxic by-products or cause corrosion of surfaces.


While the U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, food safety remains of critical importance to consumers because foodborne infections afflict millions of people each year costing billions of dollars in medical costs and productivity losses. There is a need for new technologies to enhance the safety of the food supply by controlling foodborne pathogens. Naturally occurring antimicrobials isolated from plants represent an attractive alternative to currently used sanitizers and disinfectants, such as chlorine, for protection against food-borne pathogens. Plant antimicrobials are highly effective and generally regarded as safe for human consumption. Over the past several decades, silver has been introduced as an antimicrobial in numerous applications such as water treatment, in dietary supplements, in medical applications, and to produce antimicrobial coatings and products.


  • Provides an alternative to chemical antimicrobials
  • Improved efficacy
  • Less susceptibility to inactivation by organic matter
  • Not harmful by-products


  • Water treatment
  • Dietary supplements
  • Medical applications
  • Produce antimicrobial coatings and products


Status: Issued U.S. Patent #9,661,856

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Kelly Bright
Sadhana Ravishankar
Damian Gilling
foodborne pathogens
plant antimicrobials