Cinnamon essential oil could make bacterial infections easier to treat

12 July 2018


Researchers have found that a major component of cinnamon oil can help to clear certain bacterial infections.

Dr Sanjida Topa from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, looked towards traditional medicine to treat bacterial infections. Dr Topa used cinnamaldehyde (CAD), a component of cinnamon essential oils.

In a paper published in Microbiology, researchers tested the ability of CAD to break up the protective layer which forms over Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

The research found that CAD broke down 75.6% of P. aeruginosa biofilms. In addition to this, CAD also affected the formation of biofilms and the ability of the bacteria to spread. Dr Topa said; “These findings definitely contribute to the search for novel antimicrobials.”

P. aeruginosa is a common cause of bacterial infection in immune-compromised patients, including those with cystic fibrosis, diabetes or cancer. During infection, the bacteria group together and form a protective layer known as a biofilm. Biofilms act as a shield against antibiotics and the immune system, making infections very difficult to clear.

As antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to increase, it is important that researchers find alternative ways to tackle bacterial infections. It is hoped that these findings will be useful in treating skin infections.

Dr Topa said; “Fabrication of cinnamaldehyde for surface treatments, for example [to treat] skin infections, could be the first direct application.”

Topa SH, Subramoni S, Palombo EA, Kingshott P et al. Cinnamaldehyde disrupts biofilm formation and swarming motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Microbiology 2018; DOI 10.1099/mic.0.000692

Peer- reviewed                                                    Experimental study                                                                     Cells

Notes to Editors:

The full scientific paper can be found on the Microbiology website here. (DOI 10.1099/mic.0.000692)

Microbiology, published monthly since 1947, is a publication of the Microbiology Society. The Microbiology Society is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses. It is one of the largest microbiology societies in Europe with a worldwide membership based in universities, industry, hospitals, research institutes and schools.

Our principle goal is to develop, expand and strengthen the networks available to our members so that they can generate new knowledge about microbes and ensure that it is shared with other communities. The impacts from this will drive us towards a world in which the science of microbiology provides maximum benefit to society.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

This Press Release has been labelled in-line with The Academy of Medical Sciences’ recommendations. For more information and the full definition of these labels, please see

Image: Thinkstock.