The effects of salicylate on bacteria

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2000 Oct;32(10):1029-43. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(00)00042-x.


Salicylate and related compounds, such as aspirin, have a variety of effects in eucaryotic systems and are well known for their medicinal properties. Salicylate also has numerous effects on bacteria, yet only a handful of individuals within the scientific community appreciate these findings. From a bacterial viewpoint, growth in the presence of salicylate can be both beneficial and detrimental. On one hand, growth of certain bacteria in the presence of salicylate can induce an intrinsic multiple antibiotic resistance phenotype. On the other hand, growth in the presence of salicylate can reduce the resistance to some antibiotics and affect virulence factor production in some bacteria. This review provides an overview of the effects salicylate has on various bacterial species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteria / cytology
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / drug effects
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Fusidic Acid / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Salicylates / pharmacology*
  • Salicylates / therapeutic use
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Virulence / drug effects


  • AcrB protein, E coli
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Salicylates
  • Fusidic Acid