Evaluation of efflux pump inhibitory activity of some plant extracts and using them as adjuvants to potentiate the inhibitory activity of some antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus

  • Dhama Al-Sallami
  • Amjed Alsultan
  • Kadhim Hassan Abbas
  • Simon R. Clarke
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance, Efflux pump inhibitors, Plant extracts, S. aureus.


Background: Antibiotic-resistant pathogens became a real global threat to human and animal health. This needs to concentrate the efforts to minimize and control these organisms. Efflux pumps are considered one of the important strategies used by bacteria to exclude harmful materials from the cell. Inhibition of these pumps can be an active strategy against multidrug resistance pathogens. There are two sources of efflux pump inhibitors that can be used, chemical and natural inhibitors. The chemical origin efflux pump inhibitors have many toxic side effects while the natural origin is characterized by a wide margin of safety for the host cell.
Aim: In this study, the ability of some plant extracts like (propolis show rosemary, clove, capsaicin, and cumin) to potentiate the inhibitory activity of some antibiotics such as (ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, gentamycin, tetracycline, and ampicillin) against Staphylococcus aureus pathogen were tested.
Methods: Efflux pump inhibitory activity of the selected plant extracts was tested using an ethidium bromide (EtBr) accumulation assay.
Results: The results have shown that Propolis has a significant synergistic effect in combination with ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and gentamycin. While it has no effect with tetracycline or ampicillin. Also, no synergic effect was noticed in a combination of the minimum inhibitory concentration for the selected plant extracts (rosemary, clove, capsaicin, and cumin) with any of the tested antibiotics. Interestingly, according to the results of the EtBr accumulation assay, Propolis has potent inhibitory activity against the S. aureus (MRS usa300) pump system.
Conclusion: This study suggests that Propolis might act as a resistance breaker that is able to restore the activity of ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and gentamycin against S. aureus strains, in case of the efflux-mediated antimicrobial resistance mechanisms.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2218-6050
print ISSN: 2226-4485