Keep It Natural: Ditching Conventional Antibiotics and Treating Infections in Chronic Wounds with Fatty Acids


As bacterial biofilms become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, an emerging alternative to using traditional antibiotics is inhibiting biofilms with fatty acids and antiseptics. An urgent application of this approach is to eliminate the bacterial biofilms associated with chronic wounds. Undecanoic Acid (UDA) is a fatty acid that exhibits anti-virulence and biofilm-degrading properties, making it a strong candidate as alternative treatments for antibiotics. Additionally, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), a component of common topical antiseptics, acts as a “detergent” in the presence of biofilms and enhances biofilm degradation. Because of this property, CTAB presents the opportunity to be paired with UDA to inhibit biofilms in Gram-negative bacteria. In our project, the combination of UDA and CTAB was explored and studied using Vibrio harveyi biofilms, so as to replicate the environment of an infected chronic wound. Tested independently and in mixture, the degradation and inhibition abilities of UDA and CTAB on a V. harveyi biofilm were observed. Our data suggested that UDA had no inhibitory effect on biofilm growth and that CTAB has very potent antibacterial properties in the presence of two strains of V. harveyi. Additionally, after completing two experiments to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of CTAB, we were able to narrow down the margin in which this concentration may be found.



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