Indiscriminate and irrational use of antibiotics has created an unprecedented challenge for human civilization due to microbe's development of antimicrobial resistance. It is difficult to treat bacterial infection due to bacteria's ability to develop resistance against antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents are categorized according to their mechanism of action, i.e., interference with cell wall synthesis, DNA and RNA synthesis, lysis of the bacterial membrane, inhibition of protein synthesis, inhibition of metabolic pathways, etc. Bacteria may become resistant by antibiotic inactivation, target modification, efflux pump and plasmidic efflux. Currently, the clinically available treatment is not effective against the antibiotic resistance developed by some bacterial species. However, plant-based antimicrobials have immense potential to combat bacterial, fungal, protozoal and viral diseases without any known side effects. Such plant metabolites include quinines, alkaloids, lectins, polypeptides, flavones, flavonoids, flavonols, coumarin, terpenoids, essential oils and tannins. The present review focuses on antibiotic resistance, the resistance mechanism in bacteria against antibiotics and the role of plant-active secondary metabolites against microorganisms, which might be useful as an alternative and effective strategy to break the resistance among microbes.
Keywords: antibiotic resistance; antimicrobial; mechanism of action; plant metabolite.