U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (August 2013) 57:8, p. 3568-3575. DOI:10.1128/AAC.02109-12


Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a serious problematic pathogen due to the ever-increasing presence of antibiotic resistance, demonstrating a need for novel, broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapeutic options. Antimicrobial nanoemulsions are emulsified mixtures of detergent, oil, and water (droplet size, 100 to 800 nm) which have broad antimicrobial activity against bacteria, enveloped viruses, and fungi. Here, we screened the antimicrobial activities of five nanoemulsion preparations against four Acinetobacter baumannii isolates to identify the most suitable preparation for further evaluation. Among them, N5, which contains 10% (vol/vol) Triton X-100, 25% (vol/vol) soybean oil, and 1% (wt/vol) cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), showed the best efficacy against A. baumannii in both its planktonic and biofilm forms and was selected for further study. Our data demonstrate that, while the killing of planktonic forms of A. baumannii was due to the 1% CPC component of our nanoemulsions, the breakdown of biofilms was achieved via the emulsified oil and detergent fractions. Furthermore, we documented the effect of ethanol and NaCl in combination with N5 on planktonic A. baumannii. In killing curves of N5 combined with other agents (ethanol or NaCl), a synergistic effect of a ≥2-log decrease in CFU/ml was observed. The antibiofilm activity of N5 was confirmed via a cell proliferation test and scanning electron microscopy. The effects of exposure to severe environmental conditions, which simulates the field conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, were evaluated, and this exposure did not affect the overall antimicrobial activity of N5. These studies lay a solid foundation for the utilization of nanoemulsions against the antibiotic-resistant forms of A. baumannii.