Author(s): van Vuuren SF, du Toit LC, Parry A, Pillay V, Choonara YE
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Abstract Essential oils and their constituents are known to possess antimicrobial activity; however, their inherent volatility is a limiting factor. In order to exploit the antimicrobial efficacy of essential oils, encapsulation within polymeric liposomal systems was undertaken. The liposomes were subsequently polymer-coated in order to further enhance the stability of the formulations. Essential oils distilled from Artemisia afra, Eucalyptus globulus and Melaleuca alternifolia were encapsulated into diastearoyl phosphatidylcholine and diastearoyl phosphatidylethanolamine liposomes employing a reverse phase evaporation methodology. A polyelectrolyte coating was then applied via the layer-by-layer self-deposition technique. A batch of the liposomes was polymer-coated with a 0.15\%w/v chitosan solution. Using the minimum inhibitory concentration assay, the liposome-encapsulated, unencapsulated and polymer-coated liposome-encapsulated essential oils were compared in order to observe whether the antimicrobial efficacy was improved with encapsulation and polymer coating. Fractional inhibitory concentrations (FICs) were calculated in order to determine the antimicrobial interactions amongst the lipoid components, polymer coating and essential oils (synergistic, additive, indifferent and antagonistic interactions). With the exception of A. afra, microbial growth was inhibited at lower concentrations for the encapsulated formulations in comparison with the nonencapsulated oils. Synergistic to additive interactions were noted for encapsulated E. globulus (sigmaFIC values 0.25-0.45) and M alternifolia (sigmaFIC values 0.26-0.52) formulations. The addition of the polymer coating did not enhance antimicrobial activity, but owing to their positive effects on membrane stability, its presence is important as a means of extending the shelf life of these formulations. Additionally, the presence of the polymeric coating availed the essential oil at a slower rate. This investigation is a stepping stone towards the promotion of the antimicrobial use of essential oils. The added benefits are that essential oils not only provide effective antimicrobial efficacy, but also promote a "greener" consumerism. Within liposomes, they will enhance dermato-cosmetic properties and increase the marketing image of the final product.
This article was published in Nat Prod Commun
and referenced in Journal of Pharmacogenomics & Pharmacoproteomics