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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 11, 2016

Antibacterial activity of a microemulsion loaded with cephalosporin

Mayson H. Alkhatib, Magda M. Aly, Ohud A. Saleh and Hana M. Gashlan
From the journal Biologia


Microemulsions (MEs), isotropic mixture of water, oil, surfactant and most frequently cosurfactant, have gained great interest in the pharmaceutical industries and food technology due to their great potential to act as antimicrobials as well as nanocarriers for antibiotics. In this study, the antibacterial activities of a ME, composed of 23.5% Cremophor EL, 12.5% transcutol, 30% ethyl decanoate and 34% distilled water, against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and its potential as a nanocarrier for cephalosporine (CEPH/ME) were assessed. The morphological structures of the ME and CEPH/ME, revealed by transmission electron microscopy, were spherical and their droplet diameters were 15.55 ± 3.17 nm and 10.56 ± 2.32 nm, respectively. ME was found to have great antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. According to the mechanism of action study of ME, free cephalosporine (CEPH) and CEPH/ME against S. aureus, the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were 2 mL/10 mL of nutrient broth for ME and 1 mL/10 mL of nutrient broth for both of CEPH and CEPH/ME. The ME, CEPH and CEPH/ME have affected the S. aureus through changing cell morphology, cell wall composition (sugar, protein and phosphorus), potassium leakage and cellular respiration. They enhanced the cellular permeability, decreased the hydrophobicity and viability of the bacterial cells. This study suggests that ME formula has a good potential as an antibacterial agent and as a nanocarrier for CEPH.


The authors wish to express sincere appreciation to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology for its financial support for the research project (P-S-12-0082) and King Abdulaziz University Hospital for providing cell cultures.


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cephalosporine-loaded microemulsion


colony-forming unit


coefficient of variations


fluorescein diacetate




minimum inhibitory concentration


nutrient agar


nutrient broth




standard deviation


transmission electron microscopy

Received: 2015-11-19
Accepted: 2016-7-3
Published Online: 2016-8-11
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

©2016 Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences