Vinegar May Be an Effective Alternative Against Bacteria in Burn Wounds

The active ingredient in household vinegar was effective in preventing infections and killing bacteria present in burn wounds, a new study has found. Findings from the study are published in PLOS ONE.

Study investigators from the University of Birmingham and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC) evaluated the antibacterial mechanism of acetic acid against burn wound colonizing organisms growing planktonically and as biofilms. 

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In the lab, 29 isolates of the following pathogens were grown: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter spp. Highly diluted acetic acid was tested against each isolate and study authors assessed its ability to inhibit growth of pathogens, prevent biofilm formation, and eradicate pre-formed biofilms. Acetic acid concentrations between 0.16–0.3% were effective in inhibiting growth of all strains, preventing biofilm formation, and eradicating pre-formed biofilms for all isolates after 3 hours of exposure. 

The study supported that low concentrations of acetic acid can be an effective agent to treat biofilms and may serve as an alternative to topical antimicrobials and dressings used to prevent bacterial colonization for burns. Current application of acetic acid (2.5% concentration) in clinical settings has been limited due to patient tolerability but study findings demonstrate its efficacy at much lower concentrations than previously thought. 

Additional clinical studies are being designed to compare plain dressings soaked with acetic acid against silver-based dressings. Another study will test the efficacy of two specific concentrations of acetic acid on patients at the Healing Foundation Centre for Burns Research based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. more information visit