28 July 2016
Gram-negative bacteria cause infections that are difficult to treat due to the emergence of multidrug resistance. This review summarizes the current status of the studies investigating the capacity of essential oils and their components to modulate antibiotic activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Synergistic interactions are particularly discussed with reference to possible mechanisms by which essential oil constituents interact with antibiotics. Special emphasis is given to essential oils and volatile compounds that inhibit efflux pumps, thus reversing drug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, indifference and antagonism between essential oils/volatile compounds and conventional antibiotics have also been reported. Overall, this literature review reveals that essential oils and their purified components enhance the efficacy of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria, being promising candidates for the development of new effective formulations against Gram-negative bacteria.