Antimicrobial effects of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) essential oil against biofilm-forming multidrug-resistant cystic fibrosis-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a single agent and in combination with commonly nebulized antibiotics

Robbie Haines, Papanin Putsathit, Anna Tai, Kate Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Broth microdilution assays were used to determine minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and fractional inhibitory concentration indices (FICIs) of tea tree oil (TTO), tobramycin, colistin and aztreonam (ATM) against clinical cystic fibrosis-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CFPA) isolates (n = 20). The minimum biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) and fractional biofilm eradication concentration index (FBECI) were also determined using a similar microbroth dilution checkerboard assay, with biofilms formed using the MBEC device®. TTO was effective at lower concentrations against multidrug-resistant (MDR) CFPA isolates (n = 3) in a biofilm compared to in a planktonic state (MBEC 18·7-fold lower than MIC). CFPA within biofilm was less susceptible to ATM, colistin and tobramycin compared to planktonic cells (MBEC 6·3-fold, 9·3-fold, and 2·1-fold higher than MIC respectively). All combinations of essential oil and antibiotic showed indifferent relationships (FICI 0·52–1·72) when tested against planktonic MDR CFPA isolates (n = 5). Against CFPA isolates (n = 3) in biofilm, combinations of TTO/aztreonam and TTO/colistin showed indifferent relationships (mean FBECI 0·85 and 0·60 respectively), whereas TTO/tobramycin showed a synergistic relationship (mean FBECI 0·42). The antibiofilm properties of TTO and the synergistic relationship seen between TTO and tobramycin against CFPA in vitro make inhaled TTO a promising candidate as a potential therapeutic agent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-587
Number of pages10
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Volume75
Issue number3
Early online date23 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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