Antibacterial Properties of an Iron-based Hemostatic Agent In Vitro and in a Rat Wound Model

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Topical hemostatic agents are currently employed on the battlefield for control of major hemorrhage and have potential for use in civilian settings. Some of these compounds may also be antibacterial. Given the behavior of these compounds, the purpose of this study was to assess the potential antibacterial properties of an iron oxyacid-based topical hemostatic agent against three problematic species of wound-contaminating microorganisms: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis.


Bacteria were treated in vitro with the test powder for 30 minutes and then assessed for viability. Long-term (8-hour) inhibition of bacterial growth was also examined. In vivo, a rat full-thickness 1-cm2 skin wound was studied. Wounds were contaminated, treated, and then quantitatively cultured 24 hours later.


The lethal dose for 99% of the organisms (LD99) for the compound against each organism ranged from 0.89 (±0.28) to 4.77 (±0.66) mg/mL (p < 0.05). The compound produced sustained inhibition over 8 hours at both 1 and 5 mg/mL (p < 0.05 for each), for P. aeruginosa, S. epidermidis, and S. aureus. In vivo, activity was noted against only P. aeruginosa, with the largest magnitude reduction being on the order of 3-log colony-forming units (CFU; p < 0.01).


The iron-based agent studied possesses significant in vitro and lesser in vivo antibacterial effects. Further optimization of the delivery, dosing, and evaluation of this agent in a larger animal model with more humanlike skin structures may reveal important wound effects beyond control of bleeding.

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