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Pharmacogn Mag. 2010 Jan;6(21):1-4. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.59958. Epub 2010 Feb 13.

Natural products from the termite Nasutitermes corniger lowers aminoglycoside minimum inhibitory concentrations.

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  • 1Laboratório de Pesquisa em Produtos Naturais, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Regional do Cariri, Crato (CE), 63105-000, Brazil.


Bacterial infectious agents present a risk to populations, as they are responsible for high morbidity and mortality. For combating these pathogens, our main line of defense is the use of antibiotics. However, indiscriminate use of these drugs develops resistant strains to these same drugs. The present study has tested the antibacterial and modifying antibiotic activity of natural products from Nasutitermes corniger (Termitidae) (Motschulsky), a termite used in folk medicine in Northeast Brazil, by the microdilution and checkerboard methods, respectively. In this study, the aqueous extract from the nest of N. corniger (ANCE) was prepared and tested with chlorpromazine (CPZ) for its antimicrobial activity, using the microdilution method. CPZ and ANCE were used independently and also in combination with aminoglycosides, against a strain of Escherichia coli resistant to these antibiotics, to determine the participation of efflux systems in resistance mechanisms. The fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index was calculated and evaluated for the occurrence of synergism, using the checkerboard method. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBC) values were >/= 2048 mug/mL for both strains of E. coli assayed, indicating low antibacterial activity. However, synergism was observed with kanamycin when the decoction was used, but when chlorpromazine was used, synergism was observed with kanamycin, amikacin, and neomycin. This synergism with CPZ indicated the involvement of an efflux system in the resistance to these aminoglycosides. Therefore, it was suggested that the natural products from N. corniger could be used as a source of zoo-derived natural products with kanamycin-modifying activity, resulting in a new approach against bacterial resistance to antibiotics.


Aminoglycosides; N. Corniger; antibiotic modifying activity; ethnozoology; isopteran; termite; zootherapy

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