In vitro efficacy of bismuth thiols against biofilms formed by bacteria isolated from human chronic wounds

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Aims: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial efficacy of thirteen bismuth thiol preparations for bactericidal activity against established biofilms formed by two bacteria isolated from human chronic wounds.Methods: Single species biofilms of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa or a methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were grown in either colony biofilm or drip-flow reactors systems. Biofilms were challenged with bismuth thiols, antibiotics or silver sulfadiazine, and log reductions were determined by plating for colony formation.Conclusions: Antibiotics were ineffective or inconsistent against biofilms of both bacterial species tested. None of the antibiotics tested was able to achieve >2 log reductions in both biofilm models. The 13 different bismuth thiols tested in this investigation achieved widely varying degrees of killing, even against the same microorganism in the same biofilm model. For each microorganism, the best bismuth thiol easily outperformed the best conventional antibiotic. Against P. aeruginosa biofilms, bismuth-2,3-dimercaptopropanol (BisBAL) at 40–80 µg ml-1 achieved >7.7 mean log reduction for the two biofilm models. Against MRSA biofilms, bismuth-1,3-propanedithiol⠄bismuth-2-mercaptopyridine N-oxide (BisBDT⠄PYR) achieved a 4.9 log reduction.Significance and Impact of the Study: Bismuth thiols are effective antimicrobial agents against biofilms formed by wound bacteria and merit further development as topical antiseptics for the suppression of biofilms in chronicwounds.




Folsom JP, Baker B, Stewart PS, "In vitro efficacy of bismuth thiols against biofilms formed by bacteria isolated from human chronic wounds," Journal of Applied Microbiology 2011 111(4):989–996
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