Resistance and Tolerance to Tropodithietic Acid, an Antimicrobial in Aquaculture, Is Hard To Select

CH Porsby, Mark Webber, KF Nielsen, Laura Piddock, L Gram

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The antibacterial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA) is produced by bacteria of the marine Roseobacter clade and is thought to explain the fish probiotic properties of some roseobacters. The aim of the present study was to determine the antibacterial spectrum of TDA and the likelihood of development of TDA resistance. A bacterial extract containing 95% TDA was effective against a range of human-pathogenic bacteria, including both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. TDA was bactericidal against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 and Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 12493 and killed both growing and nongrowing cells. Several experimental approaches were used to select mutants resistant to TDA or subpopulations of strains with enhanced tolerance to TDA. No approach (single exposures to TDA extract administered via different methods, screening of a transposon library for resistant mutants, or prolonged exposure to incremental concentrations of TDA) resulted in resistant or tolerant strains. After more than 300 generations exposed to sub-MIC and MIC concentrations of a TDA-containing extract, strains tolerant to 2x the MIC of TDA for wild-type strains were selected, but the tolerance disappeared after one passage in medium without TDA extract. S. Typhimurium mutants with nonfunctional efflux pump and porin genes had the same TDA susceptibility as wild-type strains, suggesting that efflux pumps and porins are not involved in innate tolerance to TDA. TDA is a promising broad-spectrum antimicrobial in part due to the fact that enhanced tolerance is difficult to gain and that the TDA-tolerant phenotype appears to confer only low-level resistance and is very unstable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1337
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


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