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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2005;41(1):77-81.

Susceptibility of Clostridium perfringens to C-C fatty acids.

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Research Institute of Animal Production, Laboratory of Physiology of Nutrition and Products Quality, Prague, Czech Republic.



To determine susceptibility of Clostridium perfringens strains CCM 4435(T) and CNCTC 5459 to C(2)-C(18) fatty acids, and evaluate influence of pH in cultures grown on glucose. Straw particles were added to cultures to simulate the presence of solid phase of the digestive tract milieu.


Antimicrobial activity of fatty acids was expressed as a concentration at which only 50% of the initial glucose was utilized. Lauric acid showed the highest antimicrobial activity, followed by myristic, capric, oleic and caprylic acid. Only strain CNCTC 5459 was susceptible to linoleic acid. Neither caproic acid and acids with a shorter carbon chain nor palmitic and stearic acid influenced substrate utilization. The antimicrobial activity of myristic, oleic and linoleic acid decreased when clostridia were grown in the presence of straw particles. In cultures of both strains treated with capric and lauric acid at pH 5.0-5.3, the number of viable cells was <10(2) ml(-1). Only lauric acid reduced number of viable cells of both strains below 10(2) ml(-1) at pH > 6. Transmission electron microscopy revealed separation of inner and outer membranes and cytoplasma disorganization in cells treated with lauric acid.


Lauric acid had the highest activity towards C. perfringens among fatty acid tested. Its activity was not influenced by the presence of solid particles and did not cease at pH > 6.


Lauric acid might be a means for control of clostridial infections in farm animals.

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