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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology
Print version ISSN 1517-8382
GOMES, Fernanda et al. Farnesol in combination with N-acetylcysteine against Staphylococcus epidermidis planktonic and biofilm cells. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2012, vol.43, n.1, pp. 235-242. ISSN 1517-8382. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822012000100026.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is the most frequent cause of nosocomial sepsis and catheter-related infections, in which biofilm formation is considered to be the main virulence mechanism. In biofilm environment, microbes exhibit enhanced resistance to antimicrobial agents. This fact boosted the search of possible alternatives to antibiotics. Farnesol and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) are non-antibiotic drugs that have demonstrated antibacterial properties. In this study, the effect of farnesol and NAC isolated or in combination (farnesol+NAC) was evaluated. NAC at 10 × MIC caused a total cell death in planktonic cells. On the other hand, S. epidermidis biofilms exhibited 4 log reduction in viable cell number after a 24h treatment with NAC at the former concentration. Our results demonstrated that there was a higher CFU log reduction of S. epidermidis planktonic cells when farnesol was combined with NAC at 1 × MIC relatively to each agent alone. However, these results were not relevant because NAC alone at 10 × MIC was always the condition which gave the best results, having a very high killing effect on planktonic cells and a significant bactericidal effect on biofilm cells. This study demonstrated that no synergy was observed between farnesol and NAC. However, the pronounced antibacterial effect of NAC against S. epidermidis, on both lifestyles, indicates the use of NAC as a potential therapeutic agent in alternative to antibiotics.
Keywords : Nosocomial infection; biofilm; Staphylococci; farnesol; N- acetylcysteine.