TEA TREE Oil MELALEUCA NATURAL PRODUCT Research Group oil Melaleuca Alternifolia TEA TREE
The research group is involved in a range of diverse tea tree oil projects. We are currently investigating the effects of tea tree oil on biofilm formation and the efficacy of tea tree oil in clearing MRSA-positive wounds. More details are given about these projects below. In addition, Chelsea Papadopoulos is undertaking PhD studies investigating the mechanisms of bacterial resistance to tea tree oil and components. We have also taken part in reviewing the safety of tea tree oil and components as part of the response of the tea tree oil industry to the opinion on tea tree oil handed down by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) in December 2005. More information about this response can be found at the ATTIA website. The results of previous research projects are described in RIRDC reports and/or journal publications.
Effects of tea tree oil on biofilm formation
Micro organisms commonly live in slime communities called biofilms, which provide significant protection from harmful environmental factors such as chemicals, antibiotics and the immune system. If tea tree oil is able to interfere with the generation, maintenance, structure or longevity of biofilm this could have important implications for medical or industrial situations where biofilm is a significant problem. The aims of this projects are to (1) Demonstrate that tea tree oil can inhibit the formation of microbial biofilm, (2) Investigate the effects of tea tree oil on existing biofilm, (3) Investigate the mechanism(s) by which biofilm formation is inhibited and (4) Explore potential medical and industrial applications of biofilm inhibition. This project is supported by RIRDC with matching funds from Gelair™ Pty. Ltd.
Effects of tea tree oil on chronic wounds
Chronic wounds such as venous leg ulcers are a significant source of morbidity, particularly in the elderly and their management may be difficult and protracted. They are frequently colonised by a range of bacteria and certain organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have been associated with delayed healing. Patient-initiated use of TTO products in wound care has been noted by nursing staff of the Silver Chain Nursing Association prompting questions about its efficacy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that TTO may be beneficial but there are no clinical data to support its use in wounds. This work aims to address that deficiency. The two objectives of this project are: 1) To determine if TTO can eliminate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from wounds. 2) To determine if TTO is a beneficial treatment for chronic wounds. These objectives will be achieved by seeking data on two outcomes: 1) Reduction of colonisation with MRSA 2) Time to wound healing This project is supported by RIRDC with matching funds from Novasel Pty. Ltd.
Potential mechanisms of tolerance to tea tree oil and components
The PhD project of Chelsea Papadopoulos is focused on investigating putative mechanisms of tolerance in Gram negative bacteria, in particular Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Her study commenced in 2004 and is supported by a scholarship from RIRDC. Kate Hammer has recently been awarded a Raine Priming grant (2006-2008) from the Raine Medical Research Foundation to investigate potential mechanisms of tolerance in Gram positive bacteria. This work will focus on staphylococci and enterococci.