Efficacy of “HLE”—a multidrug efflux-pump inhibitor—as a disinfectant against surface bacteria

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We evaluated the efficacy of a new disinfectant product, HLE, to inhibit multiple species of planktonic and biofilm bacterial cultures. The HLE disinfectant comprised of EDTA, lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, and our data indicated that the disinfectant had effective antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity even at low concentrations (0.15% to 0.4% HLE, v/v). Furthermore, the HLE disinfectant destabilized biofilm structures eradicated them due to the synergistic effect of EDTA and both antimicrobials (lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide), as revealed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Additionally, sub-inhibitory concentrations of HLE disinfectant, with EDTA as an efflux pump inhibitor, inhibited the expression of multidrug EfrAB, NorE and MexCD efflux pumps in both planktonic and biofilm cultures. This could provide an alternative way to disinfect surfaces to avoid spreading multi-drug resistant strains in the food chain and the environment by decreasing efflux pump expression and consequently reducing the antibiotic selective pressure caused by systemic antibiotics and disinfectant use.HighlightsHLE disinfectant had effective antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity.HLE disinfectant destabilized biofilm structures eradicating them.Sub-inhibitory concentrations of HLE inhibited multidrug efflux pumps.Disinfection based on HLE may avoid spreading multi-drug resistant bacteria.

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