Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 9, pp 4171–4181 | Cite as

Efficacy of poly(lactic acid)/carvacrol electrospun membranes against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans in single and mixed cultures

  • Roberto Scaffaro
  • Francesco Lopresti
  • Manuela D’Arrigo
  • Andreana Marino
  • Antonia Nostro
Applied microbial and cell physiology


Carvacrol (CAR) is one of the most promising essential oil components with antimicrobial activity. New technologies aimed to incorporate this active molecule into carrier matrix to improve the stability and prolong the biological activity. The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility of incorporating CAR into electrospun membranes of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) for potential applications as active antimicrobial system. To this end, PLA membranes containing homogeneously dispersed CAR were successfully prepared and a series of systematic tests including morpho-mechanical properties, in vitro release rate, and antimicrobial/antibiofilm activities against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans were carried out. The results revealed that CAR has a good compatibility with PLA and acts as a plasticizer, improving flexibility and extensibility of the matrix. The gradual release of CAR from PLA membranes warranted a significant antimicrobial activity up to 144 h and reduced the biofilm production by 92–96 and 88–95% of S. aureus and C. albicans in single and mixed cultures. A strong decrease of cell count, biomass, metabolic activity, and vitality of established 24- and 48-h biofilms were also demonstrated. In conclusion, this work highlights the potential of electrospun nanofibrous membranes as efficient stabilizers-carriers of CAR and opens up interesting perspectives on the use of this system as new tool for skin and wound bacterial–fungal infections.


Carvacrol PLA nanofibers Mechanical properties Delivery Antimicrobial activity Antibiofilm activity Staphylococcus aureus Candida albicans 


Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale, Aerospaziale, dei Materiali, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 6RU INSTM, Università di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Biologiche, Farmaceutiche e Ambientali, Polo AnnunziataUniversità degli Studi di MessinaMessinaItaly

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