Summary. The inhibition of coagulase-negative staphylococci and of human or animal origin by most free fatty acids was similar, but coagulase-positive staphylococci were sensitive and coagulase-negative cultures were resistant to linolenic acid. Animal strains of were more sensitive to linolenic acid than were human strains. These differences were reflected in the relative abilities of the three categories of strains to survive on human skin.

The antibacterial effects of 20 mg of linolenic acid were inactivated by 1 ml of serum . A test organism seeded on to skin also survived better if first suspended in serum. The mechanism of the interaction between serum and linolenic acid may be due to a detergent effect of the serum and could account for colonisation of diseased skin with .

Cultures of seeded on to human skin were rapidly killed after the skin has been covered with linolenic acid. The possibility of therapeutic use of linolenic acid as an antibacterial agent should be explored.


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