Topical Delivery of Lactobacillus Culture Supernatant Increases Survival and Wound Resolution in Traumatic Acinetobacter baumannii Infections


Species of Lactobacillus have been proposed as potential candidates for treating wound infections due to their ability to lower pH, decrease inflammation, and release antimicrobial compounds. This study investigated the impact of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356, Lactobacillus casei ATCC 393, Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 23272) secreted products on wound pathogens in vitro and in a murine wound infection model. Evaluation of 1–5 day lactobacilli conditioned media (CM) revealed maximal inhibition against wound pathogens using the 5-day CM. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 5-day Lactobacillus CMs was tested by diluting CM in Mueller-Hinton (MH) broth from 0 to 25% and was found to be 12.5% for A. baumannii. Concentrating the CM to 10× with a 3 kDa centrifuge filter decreased the CM MIC to 6.25–12.5% for A. baumannii planktonic cells. Minimal impact of 5-day CMs was observed against bacterial biofilms. No toxicity was observed when these Lactobacillus CMs were injected into Galleria melonella waxworms. For the murine A. baumannii wound infection studies, improved survival was observed following topical treatment with L. acidophilus ATCC 4356 or L. reuteri ATCC 23272, while L. reuteri ATCC 23272 treatment alone improved wound resolution. Overall, this study suggests that the topical application of certain Lactobacillus species byproducts could be effective against gram-negative multi-drug resistant (MDR) wound pathogens, such as A. baumannii.

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Special thanks to the Army Wound Infections department at WRAIR for their support and assistance with the animal studies, specifically Yonas Alamneh, Rania Abu-Taleb, Jonathan Shearer, Samandra Demons, Anna Jacobs, Kathleen Umayam, Natalie-Makenna Gingras, Daniel Zurawski, and Yuanzheng Si.


The support for this work was provided by the Office of Naval Research under work unit number A1601.

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Correspondence to Chase Watters.

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All procedures were performed in accordance with protocols approved by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)/Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in compliance with all applicable Federal regulations governing the protection of animals in research.


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Stanbro, J., Park, J.M., Bond, M. et al. Topical Delivery of Lactobacillus Culture Supernatant Increases Survival and Wound Resolution in Traumatic Acinetobacter baumannii Infections. Probiotics & Antimicro. Prot. 12, 809–818 (2020).

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  • Lactobacillus
  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Wound infections
  • Lactic acid bacteria