Decreased efficacy of antimicrobial agents in a polymicrobial environment

  24 March 2022

The airways of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) often harbour diverse polymicrobial communities. These airway infections can be impossible to resolve through antibiotic intervention, even though isolates of the individual species present are susceptible to the treatment when tested in vitro. In this work, we investigate how polymicrobial cultures comprised of key CF-associated pathogens respond to challenge with species-specific antimicrobial agents; colistin (targets Pseudomonas aeruginosa), fusidic acid (targets Staphylococcus aureus), and fluconazole (targets Candida albicans). We found that growth in a polymicrobial environment protects the target microorganism (sometimes by several orders of magnitude) from the effect(s) of the antimicrobial agent. 

Further reading: ISME Journal
Author(s): Thomas James O’Brien, Wendy Figueroa & Martin Welch
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