Use of the 'ex vivo' test to study long-term bacterial survival on human skin and their sensitivity to antisepsis

Journal of Applied Microbiology
S MessagerJ-Y Maillard


To determine bacterial survival on human skin and their sensitivity to antisepsis. An 'ex vivo' protocol which uses human skin samples placed into diffusion cells, and electron microscopy (EM), were used to study the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa inoculated onto skin samples over a 46-h incubation period at 32 degrees C. Concurrently variation in skin pH was evaluated at different time intervals during this period. In addition the antimicrobial activity of three antiseptics against the incubated micro-organisms was assessed quantitatively with the 'ex vivo' test, while their detrimental effects against bacteria were observed by EM. All three bacteria were still present in high number after 46 h inoculation on skin, although the concentration of E. coli and S. aureus were reduced by 2.74 and 1.58 log(10) reduction, respectively, over this period of time. Electron micrographs showed clear evidence of cell division and some bacteria appeared to be embedded into the skin layers. The antiseptics tested had some antibacterial activity against bacteria incubated on skin for 3 and 10 h, and EM evidence showed some morphological damages including cellular blebbing and the presence of fibril...Continue Reading


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