Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill is a member of the Magnoliaceae and is used in traditional medicine. Its extracts have antibacterial activity against foodborne pathogens. In present study, the antibacterial properties of Sc. chinensis were tested on S.aureus. An in vitro antibacterial assay showed that Sc. chinensis extracts (SCE) inhibited the growth of test bacteria at a MBC of 18mg mL−1. SCE demonstrated strong antibacterial activity in barley soup system. Treated by SCE, the growth curves of S.aureus exhibited extended lag phases and abbreviated log phases, S. aureus presented with wrinkled and withered surfaces and surrounded by soluble substances probably consisting of leaked intracellular materials. Further, S. aureus released the periplasmic enzyme (AKPase) and increased activities of membrane‐bound Na+/K+/ Ca++‐ATPase. Therefore, SCE can damage S. aureus cell membranes and walls. Moreover, SCE decreased dehydrogenase and total ATPase activities, and intracellular protein contents, even interacted with DNA by groove binding.
In a barley soup model food system, SCE possessed a high level of antibacterial activity and significantly reduced total viable bacterial counts. This study laid the theoretical foundation for the application of Schisandra chinensis extract in preventing the growth of foodborne pathogens.