Abstract Title:

The ongoing battle against multi-resistant strains: in-vitro inhibition of hospital-acquired MRSA, VRE, Pseudomonas, ESBL E. coli and Klebsiella species in the presence of plant-derived antiseptic oils.

Abstract Source:

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2013 Jun ;41(4):321-6. Epub 2012 Nov 29. PMID: 23199627

Abstract Author(s):

Patrick H Warnke, Alexander J S Lott, Eugene Sherry, Joerg Wiltfang, Rainer Podschun

Article Affiliation:

Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. pwarnke@hotmail.com


The fight against hospital-acquired infections involving antibiotic-resistant microorganisms has become of critical concern to surgeons worldwide. In addition to the development of new effective antibiotic chemotherapy, exploration of 'forgotten' topical antibacterial agents from the pre-antibiotic era has recently gained new attention. We report the promising efficacy of plant-derived antiseptic oils used in traditional aboriginal and south-east Asian treatments such as Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil in the inhibition of clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae in the in-vitro setting. Large consistent zones of inhibition were observed for all three plant-derived oils tested in an agar diffusion test. The commonly used antibacterial agents chlorhexidine 0.1%, and ethanol (70%), and standard olive oil consistently demonstrated notably lower or no efficacy in regard to growth inhibition of strains. Notably, Lemongrass oil proved to be particularly active against gram-positive bacteria, while Tea Tree oil showed superior inhibition of gram-negative microorganisms. As proven in vitro, plant-derived antiseptic oils may represent a promising and affordable topical agent to support surgical treatment against multi-resistant and hospital-acquired infections.

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