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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 7890260, 8 pages
Research Article

Volatiles from Subtropical Convolvulaceae That Interfere with Bacterial Cell-to-Cell Communication as Potential Antipathogenic Drugs

1Instituto de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Bioquímica, Química y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Ayacucho 471, 4000 Tucumán, Argentina
2Fundación Miguel Lillo, Miguel Lillo 251, 4000 Tucumán, Argentina
3INQUINOA-CONICET, Ayacucho 471, 4000 Tucumán, Argentina

Received 21 March 2016; Revised 22 April 2016; Accepted 27 April 2016

Academic Editor: Daniela Rigano

Copyright © 2016 María C. Luciardi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Increasing chronic bacterial infections create an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents or strategies for their control. Targeting virulence is one of the alternative approaches to find new medicines to treat persistent infections due to bacteria with biofilm-phenotype which are more resistant to antibiotics than their planktonic counterparts having an extreme capacity for evading the host defences. A bioguided study of sixteen extracts from flowers and leaves of four subtropical Convolvulaceae species provided evidence of the occurrence of antipathogenic natural products active against Gram positive and negative bacteria. Particularly, volatile metabolites from Merremia dissecta creeper, a food and medicinal plant, were able to interfere with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing system by a strong decrease of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) biosynthesis (63–75%), which attenuated the virulence factor expression like biofilm (55%) and elastase activity (up to 27%), key factors that enable the colonization and dissemination of the infection in the host. Control of the P. aeruginosa biofilm and the QS process by phytochemicals, such as (+) spathulenol, isolated from a bioactive extract of M. dissecta leaves would be a good strategy for the development of new and effective antipathogenic drugs.