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Investigation on the Antibacterial Activity of Electronic Cigarette Liquids (ECLs): A Proof of Concept Study

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 7 ]

Author(s):

Virginia Fuochi, Massimo Caruso , Rosalia Emma, Aldo Stivala, Riccardo Polosa, Alfio Distefano and Pio Maria Furneri *   Pages 975 - 986 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Background: The key ingredients of e-cigarettes liquid are commonly propane-1,2-diol (also called propylene glycol) and propane-1,2,3-triol (vegetal glycerol) and their antimicrobial effects are already established. The nicotine and flavors which are often present in e-liquids can interfere with the growth of some microorganisms. Objective: The effect of combining these elements in e-liquids is unknown. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible effects of these liquids on bacterial growth in the presence or absence of nicotine and flavors.

Methods: Susceptibilities of pathogenic strains (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis and Sarcina lutea) were studied by means of a multidisciplinary approach. Cell viability and antioxidant assays were also evaluated. Results: All e-liquids investigated showed antibacterial activity against at least one pathogenic strain. Higher activity was correlated to the presence of flavors and nicotine.

Discussion: In most cases, the value of minimal bactericidal concentration is equal to the value of minimal inhibitory concentration showing that these substances have a bactericidal effect. This effect was observed in concentrations up to 6.25% v/v. Antioxidant activity was also correlated to the presence of flavors. Over time, the viability assay in human epithelial lung A549 cells showed a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth.

Conclusion: Our results have shown that flavors considerably enhance the antibacterial activity of propane-1,2-diol and propane-1,2,3-triol. This study provides important evidence that should be taken into consideration in further investigative approaches, to clarify the different sensitivity of the various bacterial species to e-liquids, including the respiratory microbiota, to highlight the possible role of flavors and nicotine.

Keywords:

Electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, flavors, nicotine, propane-1, 2-diol, propane-1, 2, 3-triol, antibacterial activity.

Affiliation:

Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (MEDCLIN), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences (BIOMETEC), University of Catania, Catania



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