Le PNT & Desbois AP (2017) Antibacterial Effect of Eicosapentaenoic Acid against Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus: Killing Kinetics, Selection for Resistance, and Potential Cellular Target. Marine Drugs, 15 (11), Art. No.: 334. https://doi.org/10.3390/md15110334
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; C20:5n-3), are attracting interest as possible new topical antibacterial agents, particularly due to their potency and perceived safety. However, relatively little is known of the underlying mechanism of antibacterial action of EPA or whether bacteria can develop resistance quickly against this or similar compounds. Therefore, the aim of this present study was to determine the mechanism of antibacterial action of EPA and investigate whether bacteria could develop reduced susceptibility to this fatty acid upon repeated exposure. Against two common Gram-positive human pathogens, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus, EPA inhibited bacterial growth with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 64 mg/L, while minimum bactericidal concentrations were 64 mg/L and 128 mg/L for B. cereus and S. aureus, respectively. Both species were killed completely in EPA at 128 mg/L within 15 min at 37 °C, while reduced bacterial viability was associated with increased release of 260-nm-absorbing material from the bacterial cells. Taken together, these observations suggest that EPA likely kills B. cereus and S. aureus by disrupting the cell membrane, ultimately leading to cell lysis. Serial passage of the strains in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of EPA did not lead to the emergence or selection of strains with reduced susceptibility to EPA during 13 passages. This present study provides data that may support the development of EPA and other fatty acids as antibacterial agents for cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.
antibiotic resistance; antimicrobial; fish oil; free fatty acid; omega-3; wound infections
Marine Drugs: Volume 15, Issue 11