Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Antimicrobial


The aim of this study was to seek additional data on the antimicrobial susceptibility of Staphylococcus spp. after habituation to low levels of the topical antimicrobial agent tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil. Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) were habituated to 0.075% tea tree oil for 3 days. Subsequently, the susceptibility of five isolates each of MSSA, MRSA and CoNS to fusidic acid, mupirocin, chloramphenicol, linezolid and vancomycin was determined by Etest, and susceptibility to tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, carvacrol and triclosan was determined by agar dilution. Following habituation to 0.075% tea tree oil, antimicrobial MICs differed between control and habituated isolates on 33 occasions (out of a possible 150), with MICs being higher in habituated isolates on 22 occasions. Using clinical breakpoint criteria, one MSSA isolate changed susceptibility category from vancomycin-susceptible (MIC=2μg/mL) to intermediate susceptibility (MIC=3μg/mL) after habituation in one of two replicates. For the non-antibiotic antimicrobial agents, MICs of habituated and control isolates differed on 12 occasions (out of a possible 120); 10 occasions in MRSA and 2 occasions in MSSA. MICs were higher for habituated isolates on five occasions. However, all the differences were one serial dilution only and were not regarded as significant. Habituation to sublethal concentrations of tea tree oil led to minor changes in MICs of antimicrobial agents, only one of which may have been clinically relevant. There is no evidence to suggest that tea tree oil induces resistance to antimicrobial agents.

Concepts: Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin, Antimicrobial, Tea tree oil


Antimicrobial drug treatment of travelers' diarrhea is known to increase the risk for colonization with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Among 288 travelers with travelers' diarrhea, the colonization rate without medications was 21%. For treatment with loperamide only, the rate was 20%; with antimicrobial drugs alone, 40%; and with loperamide and antimicrobial drugs, 71%.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Drug, Escherichia coli, Diarrhea, Antimicrobial, Gastroenteritis, Traveler's diarrhea, Loperamide


The intensely increasing multi-drug resistant microbial infections have encouraged the search for new antimicrobial agents. Hydrazone derivatives are known to exhibit a wide variety of biological activities including anti-microbial. In heterocyclic moiety, imidazo[1,2-a]pyrimidines are the subject of immense interest for their antimicrobial activity and also for their analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Concepts: Microbiology, Antimicrobial, Tea tree oil


The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban. These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials. Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, this statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. Evidence of other hazards to humans and ecosystems from triclosan and triclocarban is presented along with recommendations intended to prevent future harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects. Because antimicrobials can have unintended adverse health and environmental impacts, they should only be used when they provide an evidence-based health benefit. Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.

Concepts: Health care, Environment, Ecology, Evidence-based medicine, Natural environment, Ecosystem, Peer review, Antimicrobial


Biofilm targeting represents a great challenge for effective antimicrobial therapy. Increased biofilm resistance, even with the elevated concentrations of very potent antimicrobial agents, often leads to failed therapeutic outcome. Application of biocompatible nanomicrobials, particularly liposomally-associated nanomicrobials, presents a promising approach for improved drug delivery to bacterial cells and biofilms. Versatile manipulations of liposomal physicochemical properties, such as the bilayer composition, membrane fluidity, size, surface charge and coating, enable development of liposomes with desired pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles. This review attempts to provide an unbiased overview of investigations of liposomes destined to treat bacterial biofilms. Different strategies including the recent advancements in liposomal design aiming at eradication of existing biofilms and prevention of biofilm formation, as well as respective limitations, are discussed in more details.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Microbiology, Cell membrane, Membrane biology, Biofilm, Antimicrobial


Polymyxins remain the last line treatment for multidrug-resistant (MDR) infections. As polymyxins resistance emerges, there is an urgent need to develop effective antimicrobial agents capable of mitigating MDR. Here, we report biodegradable guanidinium-functionalized polycarbonates with a distinctive mechanism that does not induce drug resistance. Unlike conventional antibiotics, repeated use of the polymers does not lead to drug resistance. Transcriptomic analysis of bacteria further supports development of resistance to antibiotics but not to the macromolecules after 30 treatments. Importantly, high in vivo treatment efficacy of the macromolecules is achieved in MDR A. baumannii-, E. coli-, K. pneumoniae-, methicillin-resistant S. aureus-, cecal ligation and puncture-induced polymicrobial peritonitis, and P. aeruginosa lung infection mouse models while remaining non-toxic (e.g., therapeutic index-ED50/LD50: 1473 for A. baumannii infection). These biodegradable synthetic macromolecules have been demonstrated to have broad spectrum in vivo antimicrobial activity, and have excellent potential as systemic antimicrobials against MDR infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Infection, Antibiotic resistance, Penicillin, Antimicrobial


Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) is accepted as safe and effective for medically stable patients to complete intravenous (IV) antibiotics in an outpatient setting. Since, however, uninsured patients in the United States generally cannot afford OPAT, safety-net hospitals are often burdened with long hospitalizations purely to infuse antibiotics, occupying beds that could be used for patients requiring more intensive services. OPAT is generally delivered in one of four settings: infusion centers, nursing homes, at home with skilled nursing assistance, or at home with self-administered therapy. The first three-termed healthcare-administered OPAT (H-OPAT)-are most commonly used in the United States by patients with insurance funding. The fourth-self-administered OPAT (S-OPAT)-is relatively uncommon, with the few published studies having been conducted in the United Kingdom. With multidisciplinary planning, we established an S-OPAT clinic in 2009 to shift care of selected uninsured patients safely to self-administration of their IV antibiotics at home. We undertook this study to determine whether the low-income mostly non-English-speaking patients in our S-OPAT program could administer their own IV antimicrobials at home with outcomes as good as, or better than, those receiving H-OPAT.

Concepts: Cohort study, Hospital, United States, United Kingdom, Olympic Games, Nursing, Antimicrobial, Antimicrobials


Subsequent to binding pocket modifications designed to provide dual d-Ala-d-Ala/d-Ala-d-Lac binding that directly overcome the molecular basis of vancomycin resistance, peripheral structural changes have been explored to improve antimicrobial potency and provide additional synergistic mechanisms of action. A C-terminal peripheral modification, introducing a quaternary ammonium salt, is reported and was found to provide a binding pocket-modified vancomycin analog with a second mechanism of action that is independent of d-Ala-d-Ala/d-Ala-d-Lac binding. This modification, which induces cell wall permeability and is complementary to the glycopeptide inhibition of cell wall synthesis, was found to provide improvements in antimicrobial potency (200-fold) against vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE). Furthermore, it is shown that this type of C-terminal modification may be combined with a second peripheral (4-chlorobiphenyl)methyl (CBP) addition to the vancomycin disaccharide to provide even more potent antimicrobial agents [VRE minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 0.01-0.005 μg/mL] with activity that can be attributed to three independent and synergistic mechanisms of action, only one of which requires d-Ala-d-Ala/d-Ala-d-Lac binding. Finally, it is shown that such peripherally and binding pocket-modified vancomycin analogs display little propensity for acquired resistance by VRE and that their durability against such challenges as well as their antimicrobial potency follow now predictable trends (three > two > one mechanisms of action). Such antibiotics are expected to display durable antimicrobial activity not prone to rapidly acquired clinical resistance.

Concepts: Antibiotic resistance, Cell wall, Vancomycin, Quaternary ammonium cation, Ammonium, Enterococcus, Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, Antimicrobial


Wood ants fight pathogens by incorporating tree resin with antimicrobial properties into their nests. They also produce large quantities of formic acid in their venom gland, which they readily spray to defend or disinfect their nest. Mixing chemicals to produce powerful antibiotics is common practice in human medicine, yet evidence for the use of such “defensive cocktails” by animals remains scant. Here, we test the hypothesis that wood ants enhance the antifungal activity of tree resin by treating it with formic acid. In a series of experiments, we document that (i) tree resin had much higher inhibitory activity against the common entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum after having been in contact with ants, while no such effect was detected for other nest materials; (ii) wood ants applied significant amounts of endogenous formic and succinic acid on resin and other nest materials; and (iii) the application of synthetic formic acid greatly increased the antifungal activity of resin, but had no such effect when applied to inert glass material. Together, these results demonstrate that wood ants obtain an effective protection against a detrimental microorganism by mixing endogenous and plant-acquired chemical defenses. In conclusion, the ability to synergistically combine antimicrobial substances of diverse origins is not restricted to humans and may play an important role in insect societies.

Concepts: Microbiology, Plant, Carboxylic acid, Ant, Antimicrobial, Formic acid, Formica, Defense


Antimicrobial drug release from biomaterials for orthopedic repair and dental restorations can prevent biofilm growth and caries formation. Carriers for drug incorporation would benefit from long-term drug storage, controlled release, and structural stability. Mesoporous silica, synthesized through a co-assembly of silica and surfactant template, is an ideal drug encapsulation scaffold that maintains structural integrity upon release. However, conventional loading of drug within meso-silica pores via concentration-gradient diffusion limits the overall payload, concentration uniformity, and drug release control. Herein we demonstrate the co-assembly of an antimicrobial drug (octenidine dihydrochloride, OCT), and silica, to form highly-loaded (35% wt.) OCT-silica nanocomposite spheres of 500 nm diameter. Drug release significantly outlasted conventional OCT-loaded mesoporous silica, closely fit Higuchi models of diffusive release, and was visualized via electron microscopy. Extension of this concept to the broad collection of self-assembling drugs grants biomedical community a powerful tool for synthesizing drug-loaded inorganic nanomaterials from the bottom-up.

Concepts: Microbiology, Drug, Synthesis, Lactic acid, Dental caries, Silicon compounds, Antimicrobial, Dental restoration