Effects of sub-minimum inhibitory concentrations of lemon essential oil on the acid tolerance and biofilm formation of Streptococcus mutans.
Arch Oral Biol. 2017 Dec 29 ;87:235-241. Epub 2017 Dec 29. PMID: 29331510
OBJECTIVES: Lemon essential oil (LEO) is a kind of secondary metabolite from lemon peels and has been found to inhibit cariogenic bacteria for decades. However, its effects on main cariogenic virulence factors are rarely reported. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of sub-minimum inhibitory concentrations (sub-MICs) of LEO on the acid tolerance and biofilm formation of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) and preliminarily reveal the possible underlying mechanisms.
DESIGNS: Effects of LEO on the acid tolerance and biofilm formation of S. mutans were investigated by the broth dilution method and crystal violet staining method respectively. The expression of luxS, srtA and spaP gene was also determined to explore the underlying mechanism. In addition, Tea polyphenols (TP), a major natural inhibitor of cariogenic virulence factors, and limonene (LIM), the major component of LEO, were selected as comparisons to evaluate the effects of LEO.
RESULTS: Sub-MICs of LEO, LIM and TP exhibited a dose-dependent inhibition of growth of S. mutans at pH ranging from 4.0 to 7.0. The formation of S. mutans biofilm was remarkably inhibited and the inhibitory rates of LEO, LIM and TP were 97.87%, 94.88% and 96.01% respectively at 1/2 MIC. Similarly, a down-regulation was observed in the expression of luxS, srtA and spaP gene at sub-MIC levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Effects of LEO were similar or slightly stronger than LIM and TP, suggesting that LEO might represent a novel, natural anticarious agent that inhibited the specific genes associated with bacterial acid tolerance and biofilm formation without necessarily affecting the growth of oral bacteria.