In vitro antibacterial activity of plant essential oils against Staphylococcus hyicus and Staphylococcus aureus, the causative agents of exudative epidermitis in pigs
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Greasy pig disease or exudative epidermitis, a generalized or localized skin disease affecting piglets, is mainly caused by Staphylococcus hyicus, although other staphylococcal species such as Staphylococcus aureus may also induce disease. Piglets with skin lesions can be treated systemically with antibiotics. However, antimicrobial resistance to β-lactam antibiotics are now frequently observed in S. hyicus and S. aureus isolates. In this study, the antibacterial activity of plant essential oils as well as their ability to potentiate the effect of several antimicrobial compounds against S. hyicus and S. aureus were investigated with a view to a potential use as skin disinfectants. Among ten essential oils tested, those from cinnamon, thyme, and winter savory were the most active with minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) values ranging from 0.078 to 0.313% (v/v). Using a fluorescent probe with DNA affinity, it was found that thyme and winter savory oils act, at least in part, by disturbing the bacterial membrane integrity. At concentrations below the MIC, thyme and winter savory oils reduced biofilm formation by S. hyicus. Moreover, a treatment of pre-formed biofilms of S. hyicus with cinnamon or thyme oils significantly decreases its viability. Synergistic interactions between essential oils, more particularly from thyme and winter savory, and penicillin G, chlorhexidine or nisin, were observed. This study supports the therapeutic potential of essential oils as topical therapeutic agents against exudative epidermitis.
KeywordsGreasy pig Exudative epidermitis Staphylococcus hyicus Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Essential oil
This study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The authors wish to thank Dr. Marcelo Gottschalk (Université de Montréal) for providing bacterial strains.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
No conflict of interest declared.
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