Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Apr 20;10(4):463. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10040463.
Antimicrobial resistance is recognized as one of the major global health challenges of the 21st century. Synergistic combinations for antimicrobial therapies can be a good strategy for the treatment of multidrug resistant infections. We examined the ability of a group of 29 plant essential oils as substances which enhance the antibiotic activity. We used a modified well diffusion method to establish a high-throughput screening method for easy and rapid identification of high-level enhancement combinations against bacteria. We found that 25 essential oils possessed antibacterial activity against Escherichia Coli ATCC 25922 and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) 43300 with MICs that ranged from 0.01% to 2.5% v/v. We examined 319 (11 × 29) combinations in a checkerboard assay with E. Coli ATCC 25922 and MRSA 43300, and the result showed that high-level enhancement combinations were 48 and 44, low-level enhancement combinations were 214 and 211, and no effects combinations were 57 and 64, respectively. For further verification we randomly chose six combinations that included orange and Petitgrain essential oils in a standard time-killing assay. The results are in great agreement with those of the well diffusion assays. Therefore, the modified diffusion method was a rapid and effective method to screen high-level enhancement combinations of antibiotics and essential oils.