Effects of adaptation to carvacrol on Staphylococcus aureus in the planktonic and biofilm phases.

PMID 28521511


The effect of exposure to sub-minimum inhibitory concentrations of carvacrol, for either 3-10 days, on direct (carvacrol) or cross-protection (cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, antibiotics) and the influence on planktonic and biofilm growth of four Staphylococcus aureus strains were reported. The sequential exposure to carvacrol resulted in a direct protection that was more evident in two of the four strains after 10 days. No significant cross-protection against cinnamaldehyde, eugenol and antibiotics was detected. An adaptive response was associated with a prolonged lag phase, a lower yield of bacteria, a colony phenotype likely to be associated to small colony variants and an increase in biofilm production. Generally, the biofilm of the adapted strains was less susceptible to subMICs of carvacrol compared to the biofilms of non-adapted strains. In contrast, it was demonstrated that in the case of mature biofilms the susceptibility was similar. The exposure of S. aureus to carvacrol at concentrations above the MIC resulted in a very low mutation frequency.

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