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Am J Infect Control. 1996 Jun;24(3):186-9.

Susceptibility of transient and commensal skin flora to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil).

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to determine the susceptibility of a range of transient and commensal skin flora to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia, or tea tree.

METHODS:

A modified broth microdilution method was used. Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate detergent was added to the test medium to enhance solubility of the tea tree oil.

RESULTS:

Serratia marcescens had the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC90) of 0.25%. The highest MIC90 was 3% for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The lowest minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC90) was 0.25% for S. marcescens and Klebsiella pneumoniae, whereas the highest was 8% for Staphylococcus capitis.

CONCLUSIONS:

S. aureus and most of the gram-negative bacteria tested were more susceptible to tea tree oil than the coagulase-negative staphylococci and micrococci. These results suggest that tea tree oil may be useful in removing transient skin flora while suppressing but maintaining resident flora.

PMID:
8806995
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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