Carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid is a highly promising topical agent to enhance healing of wounds infected with drug-resistant pathogens

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015 Oct;79(4 Suppl 2):S121-9. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000737.


Background: This work was intended as a proof-of-principle study to help establish carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid (CHD-FA) as a safe and effective agent that can be deployed to prevent the onset of drug-resistant bacterial and fungal infections in military and civilian personnel experiencing traumatic wound.

Methods: Minimum inhibitory concentrations for CHD-FA were established on a total of 500 clinical isolates representing wound-associated drug-sensitive and drug-resistant bacterial and fungal pathogens. The efficacy of early use of CHD-FA to enhance healing of wounds infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa was evaluated in an in vivo rat model.

Results: CHD-FA showed strong activity against a variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens with minimum inhibitory concentration values equal or less than 0.5%. Compared with infected but untreated wounds, improved wound healing upon CHD-FA treatment was observed in both infection models, demonstrated by wound surface area measurement, histopathologic examination, and expression profiling of wound healing genes. Up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) at Day 3 after infection was significantly dampened at Days 6 and 10 in the CHD-FA-treated wounds in both infection models, displaying an improved and accelerated wound healing.

Conclusion: CHD-FA is a promising topical remedy for drug-resistant wound infections. It accelerated the healing process of wounds infected with methicillin-resistant S. aureus and multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa in rats, which is linked to both its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Benzopyrans / administration & dosage
  • Benzopyrans / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Up-Regulation
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Infection / drug therapy*
  • Wound Infection / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Benzopyrans
  • Interleukin-6
  • fulvic acid