Yixue Jiang1, Ian Edwin Cock1,2,*
1School of Environment and Science, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
2Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
Introduction: An increase in antibiotic resistance and a corresponding decrease in antimicrobial discovery have directed researchers towards alternative therapies, including plant-based medicines. However, synergistic combinations of plant extracts with conventional antibiotics may be a far more effective approach in overcoming resistance and potentiating the activity of antibiotics that are otherwise ineffective against resistant bacterial strains. Materials and Methods: The antibacterial activity of Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H. Wigg root extracts was investigated by disc diffusion assays and quantified by liquid dilution and solid phase MIC assays. The extracts were also combined with a range of conventional antibiotics and tested against gastrointestinal disease-causing bacteria. The ΣFIC values obtained from these assays were used to determine the class of combinational effects. Toxicity was evaluated by Artemia nauplii mortality and HDF cytotoxicity assays. Results: Methanolic, aqueous and ethyl acetate T. officinale root extracts showed good inhibitory activity against several gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens. The methanolic were particularly good inhibitors of S. sonneii and S. newport, with MIC values in the range 400-450 μg/mL, whilst the ethyl acetate extract was the most potent inhibitor of S. newport growth (MIC=128 μg/mL). Of further interest, some combinations of the T. officinale root extracts and conventional antibiotics potentiated bacterial growth inhibition compared to the individual components. Five synergistic and two additive interactions were noted. Interestingly, only a single antagonistic interaction was evident, indicating that nearly all combinations could be used without decreasing the antibacterial activity of the components. All extracts were nontoxic in the ALA and HDF assays. Conclusion: Taraxacum officinale root extracts have potential as inhibitors of bacterial gastrointestinal pathogens. Furthermore, extract components may also potentiate the activity of some antibiotics that are relatively ineffective alone. Isolation and identification of these compounds may be beneficial in drug design against several gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens.
Keywords: Dandelion root, Asteraceae, Synergy, Conventional antibiotics, Medicinal plants, Diarrhoea, Gastrointestinal pathogens, Drug combinations.