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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antistaphylococcal and biofilm inhibitory activities of acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid from Boswellia serrata

Alsaba F Raja1, Furqan Ali2, Inshad A Khan2, Abdul S Shawl1*, Daljit S Arora3, Bhahwal A Shah4 and Subhash C Taneja4

Author Affiliations

1 Microbiology Unit, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR), Sanatnagar, Srinagar, 190005, India

2 Clinical Microbiology Division, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR), Canal Road, Jammu, 180001, India

3 Department of Microbiology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar Punjab143005, India

4 Bioorganic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR), Canal Road, Jammu, 180001, India

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BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-54

Published: 16 March 2011

Abstract

Background

Boswellic acids are pentacyclic triterpenes, which are produced in plants belonging to the genus Boswellia. Boswellic acids appear in the resin exudates of the plant and it makes up 25-35% of the resin. β-boswellic acid, 11-keto-β-boswellic acid and acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid have been implicated in apoptosis of cancer cells, particularly that of brain tumors and cells affected by leukemia or colon cancer. These molecules are also associated with potent antimicrobial activities. The present study describes the antimicrobial activities of boswellic acid molecules against 112 pathogenic bacterial isolates including ATCC strains. Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid (AKBA), which exhibited the most potent antibacterial activity, was further evaluated in time kill studies, postantibiotic effect (PAE) and biofilm susceptibility assay. The mechanism of action of AKBA was investigated by propidium iodide uptake, leakage of 260 and 280 nm absorbing material assays.

Results

AKBA was found to be the most active compound showing an MIC range of 2-8 μg/ml against the entire gram positive bacterial pathogens tested. It exhibited concentration dependent killing of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 up to 8 × MIC and also demonstrated postantibiotic effect (PAE) of 4.8 h at 2 × MIC. Furthermore, AKBA inhibited the formation of biofilms generated by S. aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis and also reduced the preformed biofilms by these bacteria. Increased uptake of propidium iodide and leakage of 260 and 280 nm absorbing material by AKBA treated cells of S aureus indicating that the antibacterial mode of action of AKBA probably occurred via disruption of microbial membrane structure.

Conclusions

This study supported the potential use of AKBA in treating S. aureus infections. AKBA can be further exploited to evolve potential lead compounds in the discovery of new anti-Gram-positive and anti-biofilm agents.