COMBATING THE ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE THREAT
Objective: Bacteria have developed ability to resist antibiotics that previously served as effective treatment. There is an increasing concern by health care providers to address this problem in healthcare settings especially in underdeveloped countries where access to the latest antibiotics is limited. These antibiotic resistant pathogens, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, usually found in health care facilities, can cause severe to fatal infections. Our research focused on five of the most problematic bacteria: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Methods: For centuries home treatments have relied on the use of essential oils to treat ailments. We tested four commonly found essential oils (wintergreen, cinnamon, tea tree, and spearmint) against the five bacteria as well as methylglyoxal, which is an ingredient in Manuka honey. The Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method was used and diameter of the zone of inhibition for each bacterium was measured to compare with standard antibiotics used for each strain of bacteria. In addition to studying the antibacterial activity of these compounds, we also investigated a way to deliver these compounds to patients, as topical applications, to inhibit the transmission of these multidrug resistant bacteria in healthcare settings.
Results: Wintergreen and cinnamon essential oils as well as methylglyoxal showed high inhibitory effect on the tested bacteria. We also tested and found that Aloe Vera oil, Aloe Vera gel and natural Aloe Vera served as effective carriers with the essential oils and methylglyoxal.
Conclusion: The antibacterial activity found in wintergreen and cinnamon essential oils and in methylglyoxal may offer a cost-effective alternative to commercial antibiotics because these compounds are readily available and relatively inexpensive and would be a benefit to people globally.
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