Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and plant essential oils

Pharm Biol. 2016 Dec;54(12):3136-3150. doi: 10.1080/13880209.2016.1190763. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Context: Drug-resistant bacterial infections cause considerable patient mortality and morbidity. The annual frequency of deaths from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has surpassed those caused by human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), plant essential oils (EOs) and their combinations have proven to be quite effective in killing a wide selection of bacterial pathogens including MRSA.

Objectives: This review summarizes the studies in the use of AMPs, plant EOs and their combinations for coping with MRSA bacteria, and to formulate new prospects for future studies on this topic.

Methods: The sources of scientific literature such as PubMed, library search, Google Scholar, Science Direct and electronic databases such as 'The Antimicrobial Peptide Database', 'Collection of Anti-Microbial Peptides' and 'YADAMP'. Physicochemical data of anti-MRSA peptides were determined by Scientific DataBase Maker software.

Results: Of the 118 peptides, 88 exhibited an activity against MRSA with the highest activity of minimum inhibitory concentration values. Various plant EOs have been effective against MRSA. Remarkably, lemongrass EOs completely inhibited all MRSA growth on the plate. Lemon myrtle, Mountain savory, Cinnamon bark and Melissa EOs showed a significant inhibition.

Conclusion: Several of these AMPs, EOs and their combinations were effective against MRSA. Their activities have implications for the development of new drugs for medical use.

Keywords: Anti-MRSA activities; anti-MRSA EOs; anti-MRSA peptides; combination of EOs and AMPs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / isolation & purification
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Peptides
  • Plant Oils