Enhancement of Antibiotic Activity Against Staphylococcus Aureus by Exposure to Hyperbaric Oxygen

Appl Microbiol. 1967 Sep;15(5):1020-4.


Growth of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538P was studied in stationary broth cultures (11 mm deep) exposed to hyperbaric oxygen (100% O(2) at 3 atm absolute). The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the following antibiotics was determined after exposure to high-pressure oxygen (HPO) for 3, 6, and 12 hr: penicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, kanamycin, and cephalothin. Logarithmic growth during exposure to HPO was retarded 60%. Air at 3 atm absolute did not retard growth. The longer the exposure of tube dilution tests to HPO, the lower the MIC. Regardless of the antibiotic used, MIC values relative to 100% for unexposed controls were similar for given exposures, and averaged 73% after 3 hr of exposure to HPO, 53% after 6 hr, and 34% after 12 hr. Similar enhancement with HPO and an iodophor suggests occurrence of a general phenomenon with antibacterial agents. Although HPO alone is primarily bacteriostatic, combined therapy with antibiotics and HPO may be useful against bacterial infections because the therapeutic effectiveness of a maximal dosage of antibiotic could be increased.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cephalothin / pharmacology
  • Kanamycin / pharmacology
  • Oxygen / pharmacology*
  • Oxytetracycline / pharmacology
  • Penicillins / pharmacology
  • Pressure
  • Staphylococcus / growth & development*
  • Streptomycin / pharmacology
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins
  • Kanamycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Cephalothin
  • Oxygen
  • Oxytetracycline
  • Streptomycin