Synergism between medihoney and rifampicin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Public library of Science
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Journal article
Carter, Dee et al. 2013, 'Synergism between medihoney and rifampicin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)', Public library of Science, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. e57679
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Skin and chronic wound infections caused by highly antibiotic resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are an increasing and urgent health problem worldwide, particularly with sharp increases in obesity and diabetes. New Zealand manuka honey has potent broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, has been shown to inhibit the growth of MRSA strains, and bacteria resistant to this honey have not been obtainable in the laboratory. Combinational treatment of chronic wounds with manuka honey and common antibiotics may offer a wide range of advantages including synergistic enhancement of the antibacterial activity, reduction of the effective dose of the antibiotic, and reduction of the risk of antibiotic resistance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Medihoney in combination with the widely used antibiotic rifampicin on S. aureus. Using checkerboard microdilution assays, time-kill curve experiments and agar diffusion assays, we show a synergism between Medihoney and rifampicin against MRSA and clinical isolates of S. aureus. Furthermore, the Medihoney/rifampicin combination stopped the appearance of rifampicin-resistant S. aureus in vitro. Methylglyoxal (MGO), believed to be the major antibacterial compound in manuka honey, did not act synergistically with rifampicin and is therefore not the sole factor responsible for the synergistic effect of manuka honey with rifampicin. Our findings support the idea that a combination of honey and antibiotics may be an effective new antimicrobial therapy for chronic wound infections.
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