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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2002 Nov;50(5):731-4.

Nisin, alone and combined with peptidoglycan-modulating antibiotics: activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London NW3 2PF, UK.



We have sought ways to circumvent resistance, by combining nisin with other antibiotics known to target bacterial cell wall biosynthesis.


Twenty strains each of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) were tested in vitro by standardized methods against nisin alone and combined with bacitracin, ramoplanin and chloramphenicol.


Ramoplanin was the most potent compound, and bacitracin had the least activity. Two-way synergy was observed with nisin and ramoplanin. However, chloramphenicol was clearly antagonistic to the activity of nisin.


Observations of synergy between nisin and ramoplanin against MRSA and VRE offer a promising approach to the concept of combining nisin with inhibitors of cell wall peptidoglycan. Further investigations are needed in order to develop this approach as a clinical possibility.

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