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Antibacterial activity of class I and IIa bacteriocins combined with polymyxin E against resistant variants of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli

Naghmouchi, Karim, Belguesmia, Yanath, Baah, John, Teather, Ron, Drider, Djamel
Research in microbiology 2011 v.162 no.2 pp. 99-107
Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, absorbance, antibacterial properties, antimicrobial peptides, food biopreservatives, growth retardation, mutants, nisin, polymyxins
Development of resistance could render antimicrobial peptides ineffective as bio-preservatives in food. Variants resistant to nisin A or pediocin PA-1 were developed from Listeria monocytogenes and a variant resistant to polymyxin E was developed from Escherichia coli RR1. Inhibition of these organisms by these agents alone or in combination was assessed using critical dilution microassay and optical density measurement. The combination of pediocin or nisin with polymyxin E was synergistic against all five strains. The polymyxin/nisin combination at 9.3/32, 4.7/62.5 and 0.6/15.6 μg/ml inhibited growth of nisin-resistant L. monocytogenes, pediocin-resistant L. monocytogenes and polymyxin-resistant E. coli, respectively, by factors of 94%, 97% and 74% compared to controls. The pediocin/nisin combination was effective against L. monocytogenes and its variants, but not E. coli or its variant. Polymyxin (0.21 μg/ml) and polymyxin/nisin (0.3/7.8 μg/ml) reduced E. coli growth measured in the log phase by, respectively, 31.25% and 93.54%. L. monocytogenes growth in the logarithmic and stationary phases was reduced, respectively, by 90.46% and 77.52% by polymyxin/pediocin at 4.7/25 μg/ml. Our results suggest that the effective concentration of bacteriocin for control of resistant L. monocytogenes and E. coli variants could be lowered considerably by combination with polymyxin E. This suggests searching for polymyxin-like compounds to increase the efficiency of bacteriocins and slow the emergence of resistant mutants. This could be an important step towards the expanded use of bacteriocins in the medical arena.