Rosin as a natural alternative for the effective disinfection of ESKAPE pathogens and difficile spores

Stephen Bell, Thomas P Thompson, Nikki Marks, Derek Fairley, Hannele Kettunen, Juhani Vuorenmaa, Juha Orte, Brendan F Gilmore, John W McGrath

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Aim: Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) caused by antimicrobial-resistant ESKAPE pathogens are a significant concern for the healthcare industry, with an estimated cost of up to $45 billion per year in the US alone. Clostridioides difficile is an additional opportunistic pathogen that also poses a serious threat to immunocompromised patients in hospitals. Infections caused by these pathogens lead to increased hospital stays and repeated readmission, resulting in a significant economic burden. Disinfectants and sporicidals are essential to reduce the risk of these pathogens in hospitals, but commercially available products can have a number of disadvantages including inefficacy, long contact times, short shelf lives, and operator health hazards. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of Rosin (a natural substance secreted by coniferous trees as a defence mechanism against wounds in tree bark) and its commercial derivative Rosetax-21 as disinfectants and sporicidal against the six ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) and spore preparations from C. difficile. 

Methods and Results: Both Rosin and Rosetax-21 were tested under simulated clean and dirty conditions [with Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA)] against the ESKAPE pathogens, and C. difficile spore preparations. In clean conditions, Rosin (5% weight/volume: w/v) demonstrated significant efficacy against five of the ESKAPE pathogens, with A. baumannii and Enterococcus faecium being the most susceptible, and K. pneumoniae the most resistant, showing only a 1-log reduction after a 5 min treatment. However, in dirty conditions, all pathogens including K. pneumoniae exhibited at least a 3-log reduction to Rosin within 5 min. Rosetax-21 (5% w/v) was found to be less effective than Rosin in clean conditions, a trend that was exacerbated in the presence of BSA. Additionally, both Rosin and Rosetax-21 at 2.5% (w/v) achieved complete eradication of C. difficile spores when combined with 0.5% glutaraldehyde, though their standalone sporicidal activity was limited. 

Conclusions: The findings from this study highlight the potential of Rosin and Rosetax-21 as both bactericidal and sporicidal disinfectants, with their efficacy varying based on the conditions and the pathogens tested. This presents an avenue for the development of novel healthcare disinfection strategies, especially against HAIs caused by antimicrobial-resistant ESKAPE pathogens and C. difficile.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlxae008
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by support from Hankkija Oy and Forchem Oy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s).


  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • General Medicine
  • Biotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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