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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382

Abstract

FERNANDES, Paulo André Vicente et al. Antimicrobial activity of surfactants produced by Bacillus subtilis R14 against multidrug-resistant bacteria. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2007, vol.38, n.4, pp. 704-709. ISSN 1517-8382.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822007000400022.

Lipopeptides represent a class of microbial surfactants with increasing scientific, therapeutic and biotechnological interests. The genus Bacillus is a producer of these active compounds, and among them B. subtilis produces surfactin, the most potent biosurfactant known. These compounds can act as antibiotics, antivirals, antitumorals, immunomodulators and enzyme inhibitors. In this work, the antimicrobial activity of biosurfactants obtained by cultivation of B. subtilis R14 was investigated against multidrug-resistant bacteria. During cultivation in defined medium, the surface tension of the medium was reduced from 54 mN/m in the beginning of the microbial growth to 30 mN/m after 20 hours. A crude surfactant concentration of 2.0 g/L was obtained after 40 hours of cultivation. A preliminary characterization suggested that two surfactants were produced. The evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of these compounds was carried out against 29 bacteria. Enterococcus faecalis (11 strains), Staphylococcus aureus (6 strains) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (7 strains) and Escherichia coli CI 18 (1 strain) displayed a profile of well defined drug resistance. All strains were sensitive to the surfactants, in particular Enterococcus faecalis. The results demonstrated that lipopeptides have a broad spectrum of action, including antimicrobial activity against microorganisms with multidrug-resistant profiles.

Keywords : Biosurfactant; Bacillus subtilis; Lipopeptides; Antimicrobial activity.

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