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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

In vitro evaluation of the tuberculocidal property of essential oils

S Dharan1*, G Rajasekaram2, P Kaniappan2, P Holzner3 and D Pittet1

  • * Corresponding author: S Dharan

Author Affiliations

1 Infection Control Programme, University of Geneva Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland

2 Dept of Microbiology, Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johore Baru, Malaysia

3 Gold Princess, Geneva, Switzerland

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P42  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P42


The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1753-6561/5/S6/P42


Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Dharan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

The re-emergence of tuberculosis on a global scale, together with the emergence and spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis multidrug-resistant strains, is a worldwide public health problem that places a heavy burden on resource-poor countries. We investigated the antibacterial properties of certain essential oils against M. tuberculosis.

Methods

Laboratory tests were carried out in two phases. Phase I was conducted at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Malaysia, and phase II at the University of Geneva Hospitals. In phase I, 100 ┬Ál of different essential oils were run down the middle of freshly inoculated L-J slants with M. tuberculosis to test for growth inhibition by direct contact with the oils. In phase II, we prepared two formulations from the essential oils showing tuberculocidal properties. Actively-growing M. tuberculosis cultures were exposed to aerosols with different concentrations of the formulations. After exposure of 5 min daily for 10 days, cultures were incubated for a further 10 days for visual observation of colony growth, followed by subcultures incubated for 6 weeks to evaluate the bactericidal effect.

Results

Phase I identified 3 oils with a cidal effect on direct contact. In phase II, we identified that a 20% mixture of essential oils in 30% ethanol was tuberculocidal. Subcultures showed no growth up to 3 weeks compared to controls, but showed growth of a few colonies at 6 weeks.

Conclusions

In vitro testing allowed to confirm that certain essential oils have tuberculocidal properties. Inhalation therapy with essential oils could be used as an adjunctive low-cost therapy to directly observed therapy and should be evaluated in controlled clinical trials.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.