The Effect of Lauric Acid on Pathogens Colonizing the Burn Wound: A Pilot Study

Altern Ther Health Med. 2020 Mar;26(2):23-27.


Objective: Some of the most serious complications of burns include septic infections. Instead of fulfilling the function of a protective barrier, tissues damaged by high temperature create a niche that serves as an environment and source of nourishment for pathogens. An accepted practice is to use antibiotics to inhibit development of pathogens. Taking into consideration the characteristics of the burn wound and increasing antibiotic resistance, the search for new substances that have both antimicrobial and regenerative effects seems justified. The aim of the study was to determine the influence of lauric acid on bacteria-colonizing tissue samples taken during surgical treatment of burns.

Methods: Lauric acid was combined with 5 different ointment bases: Anhydrous Eucerin DAB, Anhydrous Eucerin II, Hydrophilic Vaseline, White Vaseline, and Lekobaza. The content of lauric acid in the ointment bases was 10% to 20% w/w. The preparations were applied onto samples of burnt skin collected during surgery. The samples were subsequently subjected to a microbiological test with the use of model strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.

Results: With one exception (White Vaseline), lauric acid showed a more pronounced effect on bacteria in 20% w/w concentration. In a 10% lauric acid concentration, no effect on bacteria was observed on the Hydrophilic Vaseline ointment base. Lauric acid had the strongest inhibiting effect on microbial growth of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. Satisfactory zones of inhibition were also observed in the case of Escherichia coli. Growth inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was observed only when pure lauric acid was used.

Conclusions: Due to its aseptic and regenerative effect on chemically damaged tissues, lauric acid can be a promising modifier of the burn healing process.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lauric Acids / pharmacology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Petrolatum / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Infection / drug therapy*
  • Wound Infection / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Lauric Acids
  • lauric acid
  • Petrolatum