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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 Aug;54(2):386-92. Epub 2004 Jul 14.

Tolerance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil is associated with the outer membrane and energy-dependent cellular processes.

Author information

1
Microbiology Discipline (M502), School of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009. chelsea@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) and its components have antimicrobial activity against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi and viruses. The mechanism(s) by which Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCTC 10662 maintains a decreased susceptibility to tea tree oil and components was investigated.

RESULTS:

Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid enhanced the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil and terpinen-4-ol against stationary phase P. aeruginosa while polymyxin B nonapeptide enhanced the activity of tea tree oil and gamma-terpinene. Pre-treatment with the protonophore carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone increased the susceptibility of exponential phase cells to sub-inhibitory concentrations of tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol and gamma-terpinene, indicating that intrinsic tolerance to tea tree oil and components is substantially energy dependent.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increased tolerance to tea tree oil in P. aeruginosa is directly related to the barrier and energy functions of the outer membrane, and may involve efflux systems.

PMID:
15254026
DOI:
10.1093/jac/dkh359
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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