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*F. D. Otajevwo and H. A. K. Obiazi


This study was carried out to further unravel the curing potential of dilutions of ascorbic acid agent on a multidrug resistant (MDR) Escherichia coli urinary tract pathogen in a Mueller Hinton broth culture medium under four levels of incubation periods. Fifteen (15) pure strains of Escherichia coli coded EC1-EC15 were obtained from 24hr cultures on Cystine lactose Electrolyte Deficient (CLED) agar plates which had been inoculated with freshly voided midstream urine samples submitted by in and out patients who had been diagnosed provisionally with symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and referred to the Medical Microbiology Department of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria. The axenic E.coli cultures were obtained and aseptically transferred onto sterile Nutrient agar slants and incubated at 37oC for 24hr. The slant E.coli cultures were re-confirmed as E.coli strains by standard methods. Antibiotic sensitivity testing was carried out by agar disc diffusion method on all confirmed strains on sterile Mueller Hinton agar before and after treatment with ascorbic acid dilutions. Out of the 15 (100.0%) E.coli strains, 11 (73.3%) were MDR strains of which EC8 strain resisted all eight drugs used. The highest (17.0±5.3mm) and least (1.5±0.1mm) zones of inhibition by all fifteen strains were recorded for nitrofurantoin and amoxicillin/clauvulanic acid respectively. Twelve (80%), 10 (66.7%), 10 (66.7%), 9 (60%), 7 (46.7%) and 6 (40%) E.coli strains were sensitive to nitrofurantoin, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, gentamycin, cefuroxime and ceftazidime respectively. All fifteen strains were resistant to ampicillin. After ascorbic acid treatment on EC8 strain and 6hr, 12hr, 18hr and 24hr incubation, the uropathogen became sensitive to 6 (75%) out of the 8 (100%) drugs it resisted prior to treatment which were ceftazidime (a cephalosporin), gentamycin (an aminoglycoside), ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin (both fluoroquinolones), amoxicillin/clauvulanic acid (a synthetic penicillin) and nitrofurantoin (a urinary antiseptic). Resistance losses (or reduction) of ≤50% were achieved most between 18-24hr incubation suggesting that optimal biochemical and physiological activities may be attained by EC8 strain and indeed other MDR E.coli uropathogens during this incubation period at 37oC for E.coli uropathogens. Ascorbic acid dilutions of 100ug/ml, 400ug/ml, 500ug/ml, 600ug/ml, 700ug/ml, 800ug/ml, 900ug/ml and 1000ug/ml recorded ≤50% mean loss of resistance in EC8 strain to ceftazidime. Noteworthy was 1000ug/ml dilution which induced ≤50% mean loss of resistance to ceftazidime, ofloxacin, amoxicillin/clauvulanic acid and nitrofurantoin. Ascorbic acid dilutions of 100ug/ml, 600ug/ml, 700ug/ml, 800ug/ml and 1000ug/ml as treated with EC8 strain reduced ampicillin MIC to 5ug (two-fold reduction), 5ug (two-fold reduction), 5ug (two-fold reduction), 5ug (two-fold reduction) and 2.5ug (four-fold reduction) respectively. Uropathogen EC8 strain treated with 1000ug/ml reduced ampicillin MIC to 2.5ug (four-fold reduction) which was the highest reduction. The administration therefore of ascorbic acid at standard human doses using 1000ug/ml in particular or even higher dose as a basis along with ceftazidime, ofloxacin, amoxicillin/clauvulanic acid and nitrofurantoin or any of their appropriate combinations may assist in eliminating inherent resistance genes (present on plasmids or chromosomes) in MDR E.coli. It is hoped that this will bring about faster treatment outcomes and perhaps, help reclaim some hitherto first line antibiotics which have long lost their therapeutic usefulness.

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