Antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate alone and in combination with eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Staphylococcus epidermidis

T.J. Karpanen, Tony Worthington, E.R. Hendry, B.R. Conway, Peter A. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives Effective skin antisepsis and disinfection of medical devices are key factors in preventing many healthcare-acquired infections associated with skin microorganisms, particularly Staphylococcus epidermidis. The aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate (CHG), a widely used antiseptic in clinical practice, alone and in combination with tea tree oil (TTO), eucalyptus oil (EO) and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of S. epidermidis. Methods Antimicrobial susceptibility assays against S. epidermidis in a suspension and in a biofilm mode of growth were performed with broth microdilution and ATP bioluminescence methods, respectively. Synergy of antimicrobial agents was evaluated with the chequerboard method. Results CHG exhibited antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis in both suspension and biofilm (MIC 2–8 mg/L). Of the essential oils thymol exhibited the greatest antimicrobial efficacy (0.5–4 g/L) against S. epidermidis in suspension and biofilm followed by TTO (2–16 g/L) and EO (4–64 g/L). MICs of CHG and EO were reduced against S. epidermidis biofilm when in combination (MIC of 8 reduced to 0.25–1 mg/L and MIC of 32–64 reduced to 4 g/L for CHG and EO, respectively). Furthermore, the combination of EO with CHG demonstrated synergistic activity against S. epidermidis biofilm with a fractional inhibitory concentration index of <0.5. Conclusions The results from this study suggest that there may be a role for essential oils, in particular EO, for improved skin antisepsis when combined with CHG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1036
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Volume62
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

This is an electronic version of an article published in Karpanen, T.J.; Worthington, Tony; Hendry, E.R.; Conway, B.R. and Lambert, Peter A. (2008). Antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate alone and in combination with eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Staphylococcus epidermidis. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 62 (5), pp. 1031-1036. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org

Keywords

  • essential oils
  • chlorhexidine
  • synergism
  • skin antisepsis
  • antimicrobial activity

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