E. coli bacteria can cause urinary tract infections that need antibiotics treatment. Triclosan strongly reduces the performance of antibiotics to fight the infection. The bacterial cell wall is shown in red and DNA in blue. Image: Petra Levin laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis
Chemical added to many consumer products impairs the action of antibiotics - health short science news

Researchers have found that triclosan, which is intended to kill bacteria and therefore added to products as diverse as toothpaste, mouthwash, and even credit cards, inadvertently makes bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.

In experiments with mice, researchers found that antibiotic efficiency was reduced by as much as 100-fold. Triclosan does this by triggering ppGpp in bacteria, which normally shuts down biochemical pathways during stress. While many antibiotics target ppGpp, they cannot exert their effects, as ppGpp is not available to them. Thus, the antimicrobial chemical triclosan has the opposite effect of what it is supposed to achieve: promoting the survival of bacteria instead of killing them.

Researchers say that the use of antimicrobial additives to consumer products should be reconsidered.

Read the full story: Washington University in St. Louis
Scientific publication: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy