Carvacrol exhibits rapid bactericidal activity against Streptococcus pyogenes through cell membrane damage.
Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 15 ;11(1):1487. Epub 2021 Jan 15. PMID: 33452275
Niluni M Wijesundara
Streptococcus pyogenes is an important human pathogen worldwide. The identification of natural antibacterial phytochemicals has renewed interest due to the current scarcity of antibiotic development. Carvacrol is a monoterpenoid found in herbs. We evaluated carvacrol alone and combined with selected antibiotics against four strains of S. pyogenes in vitro. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of carvacrol against S. pyogenes were 125 µg/mL (0.53 mM) and 250 µg/mL (1.05 mM), respectively. Kill curve results showed that carvacrol exhibitsinstantaneous bactericidal activity against S. pyogenes. We also demonstrated the potential mechanism of action of carvacrol through compromising the cell membrane integrity. Carvacrol induced membrane integrity changes leading to leakage of cytoplasmic content such as lactate dehydrogenase enzymesand nucleic acids. We further confirmed dose-dependent rupturing of cells and cell deaths using transmission electron microscopy. The chequerboard assay results showed that carvacrol possesses an additive-synergistic effect with clindamycin or penicillin. Carvacrol alone, combined with clindamycinor penicillin, can be used as a safe and efficacious natural health product for managing streptococcal pharyngitis.