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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activities of bismuth thiols against staphylococci and staphylococcal biofilms.

Indwelling medical devices are associated with infectious complications. Incorporating antimicrobials into indwelling materials may reduce bacterial colonization. Bismuth thiols are antibiofilm agents with up to 1,000-fold-greater antibacterial activity than other bismuth salts. Staphylococci are particularly sensitive, as determined by agar diffusion and broth dilution susceptibility testing. Bismuth-ethanedithiol inhibited 10 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis strains at 0.9 to 1.8, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 at 2.4, and S. epidermidis ATCC 12228 at 0.1 microM Bi(3+). Antiseptic-resistant S. aureus was sensitive to bismuth-2-3-dimercaptopropanol (BisBAL) at < or = 7 microM Bi(3+). Hydrogel-coated polyurethane rods soaked in BisBAL inhibited S. epidermidis for 39 days (inhibitory zone diameter in agar, > or = 30 mm for > 25 days). Slime from 16 slime-producing S. epidermidis strains was inhibited significantly by bismuth-3,4-dimercaptotoluene (BisTOL), but not by AgNO3, at subinhibitory concentrations. In conclusion, bismuth-thiols are bacteriostatic and bactericidal against staphylococci, including resistant organisms, but are also inhibitors of slime at subinhibitory concentrations. At subinhibitory concentrations, BisTOL may be useful in preventing the colonization and infection of indwelling intravascular lines, since staphylococci are important pathogens in this setting.[1]


  1. Activities of bismuth thiols against staphylococci and staphylococcal biofilms. Domenico, P., Baldassarri, L., Schoch, P.E., Kaehler, K., Sasatsu, M., Cunha, B.A. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2001) [Pubmed]
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