The increasing incidence and severity of diarrhoea and colitis caused by Clostridium difficile, together with a high rate of relapse following treatment with currently recommended antimicrobials, calls for novel interventions for C. difficile infection (CDI). Rhodomyrtone, a bioactive compound derived from the leaves of the rose myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa) has demonstrated antibacterial activity against several Gram-positive bacteria. This study compared the in vitro antimicrobial activity of rhodomyrtone on C. difficile with that of vancomycin, a recommended agent for the treatment of CDI. Determination of the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) of rhodomyrtone and vancomycin for ten C. difficile isolates showed that the MICs of rhodomyrtone for C. difficile vegetative cells (0.625–2.5 mg/L) were comparable with that of vancomycin (1.25 mg/L), but the MBCs of rhodomyrtone (1.25–5 mg/L) were significantly lower than those for vancomycin (5 mg/L to ˃40 mg/L; P < 0.001). Time–kill assays showed rapid bactericidal activity for rhodomyrtone, with ≥99% killing within 4 h. Rhodomyrtone was also four-fold more potent than vancomycin in inhibiting C. difficile spore outgrowth. Transmission electron microscopy of rhodomyrtone-treated C. difficile revealed cell lysis and evidence of defective cell division and spore formation. These studies indicate that rhodomyrtone should be further investigated as a potential treatment for CDI.
- Clostridium difficile