The fight against hospital-acquired infections involving antibiotic-resistant microorganisms has become of critical concern to surgeons worldwide. In addition to the development of new effective antibiotic chemotherapy, exploration of 'forgotten' topical antibacterial agents from the pre-antibiotic era has recently gained new attention. We report the promising efficacy of plant-derived antiseptic oils used in traditional aboriginal and south-east Asian treatments such as Lemongrass, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil in the inhibition of clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, ESBL-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae in the in-vitro setting. Large consistent zones of inhibition were observed for all three plant-derived oils tested in an agar diffusion test. The commonly used antibacterial agents chlorhexidine 0.1%, and ethanol (70%), and standard olive oil consistently demonstrated notably lower or no efficacy in regard to growth inhibition of strains. Notably, Lemongrass oil proved to be particularly active against gram-positive bacteria, while Tea Tree oil showed superior inhibition of gram-negative microorganisms. As proven in vitro, plant-derived antiseptic oils may represent a promising and affordable topical agent to support surgical treatment against multi-resistant and hospital-acquired infections.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.