Tolerance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil is associated with the outer membrane and energy-dependent cellular processes

C.J. Longbottom, Christine Carson, Kate Hammer, Brian Mee, Thomas Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) and its components have antimicrobial activity against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi and viruses. The mechanism(s) by which Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCTC 10662 maintains a decreased susceptibility to tea tree oil and components was investigated.Results: Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid enhanced the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil and terpinen-4-ol against stationary phase P. aeruginosa while polymyxin B nonapeptide enhanced the activity of tea tree oil and gamma-terpinene. Pre-treatment with the protonophore carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone increased the susceptibility of exponential phase cells to sub-inhibitory concentrations of tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol and gamma-terpinene, indicating that intrinsic tolerance to tea tree oil and components is substantially energy dependent.Conclusions: Increased tolerance to tea tree oil in P. aeruginosa is directly related to the barrier and energy functions of the outer membrane, and may involve efflux systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-392
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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