Membrane disruption and anti-quorum sensing effects of synergistic interaction between Lavandula angustifolia (lavender oil) in combination with antibiotic against plasmid-conferred multi-drug-resistant Escherichia coli

P. S.X. Yap, T. Krishnan, B. C. Yiap, C. P. Hu, K. G. Chan, S. H.E. Lim

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Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the mode of action of the lavender essential oil (LV) on antimicrobial activity against multi-drug-resistant Escherichia coli J53 R1 when used singly and in combination with piperacillin. Method and Results: In the time-kill analysis, a complete killing of bacteria was observed based on colony counts within 4 h when LV was combined with piperacillin during exposure at determined FIC concentrations. Analysis of the membrane permeabilizing effects of LV on treated cultures through their stability against sodium dodecyl sulphate revealed that the LV played a role in disrupting the bacterial cell membrane. The finding is further supported by scanning electron microscopy analysis and zeta potential measurement. In addition, reduction in light production expression of E. coli [pSB1075] by the LV showed the presence of potential quorum sensing (QS) inhibitors. Conclusions: These results indicated that the LV has the potential to reverse bacterial resistance to piperacillin in E. coli J53 R1. It may operate via two mechanisms: alteration of outer membrane permeability and inhibition of bacterial QS. Significance and Impact of the Study: These findings offer a novel approach to develop a new option of phytopharmaceuticals against multi-drug-resistant E. coli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1128
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Chemical composition
  • Essential oil
  • Lavandula angustifolia
  • Membrane permeability
  • Quorum sensing

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