The 20th Anniversary of Pharmaceuticals—The application of Adjuvants and Nanomaterials in Antimicrobial Intervention

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Biopharmaceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 July 2024 | Viewed by 1641

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA‐ARS, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA
Interests: antifungal intervention; drug repurposing; drug resistance; redox adjuvants; resistance management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Bioproducts Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA‐ARS, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA
Interests: antimicrobials; biodegradable polymers; bioproducts; green chemistry; self-assembly

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Guest Editor
Infectious Bacterial Diseases of Livestock Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, IA 50010, USA
Interests: alternatives to antibiotics; antibacterial agents; biodegradable polymers as vaccine delivery platforms

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Guest Editor
Ruminant Diseases and Immunology Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA 50010, USA
Interests: alternatives to antibiotics; antimicrobial peptides; biotherapeutics; polyanhydride nanoparticles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Current antimicrobial agents have limited efficacy in treating microbial pathogens, especially those resistant to conventional drugs. A stagnation in development of new, effective antimicrobial agents is also a public health concern. One of the new approaches to tackle these problems involves the use of adjuvants. Typically used in vaccines or in medicine, adjuvants enhance the activity of co-delivered drugs, antigens or other agents.  Antimicrobial adjuvants are safe molecules (either synthetic or natural) and when co-applied with an antimicrobial agent can achieve a synergistic interaction. By definition, the adjuvants do not necessarily possess potent antimicrobial activity. However, this approach can provide a safe, economic means of enhancing the efficacy of antimicrobial agents that could lower dosages of the active ingredients. Furthermore, use of adjuvants can also overcome pathogen resistance to conventional antimicrobial agents. Nanotechnology approaches for drug delivery systems and new drugs could also provide the strategies for effective control of microbial pathogens, which not only counteract emerging microbial infections but also overcome the increase in drug-resistant strains. The approaches include the application of nanoparticles (chitosan, metallic, biodegradable polymers, etc.). Nanoparticles can be tailored to the desired application to achive effects that can destabilize microbial cell structures, enclosing multiple drugs within the same nanoparticle interfering with the microbial resistance mechanisms, utilize liposomes-based formulations that overcome decreased uptake and increased efflux of drugs, or deliver drugs directly to the target site of infection enabling localized release of high doses of drugs while minimizing total dosage needed and potential systemic side-effects.

This Special Issue invites both reviews and original articles elucidating recent progress on antimicrobial intervention. Topics include but are not limited to the identification of new antimicrobial actives, particularly adjuvants such as redox molecules, natural products, repurposed drugs/compounds, efflux pump inhibitors (EPI), etc., development of new nanotechnology strategy for antimicrobial disruption or drug delivery, elucidation of the mechanisms of antimicrobial synergism, and hence, providing platforms to discover possible new intervention strategies while highlighting the challenges of the translation of the identified adjuvants or nanomaterials into the clinical pipeline. Nanoparticles developed in vaccine technology are also considered if showing novel application such as transdermal delivery or intracellular antimicrobial release, etc. The collection of manuscripts will be published as a Special Issue of Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Jong Heon Kim
Dr. William Hart-Cooper
Dr. Jennifer Wilson-Welder
Dr. Rohana Dassanayake
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • alternatives to antibiotics
  • antimicrobial/antibacterial
  • biodegradable polymers
  • infectious diseases
  • molecule repurposing
  • nanotechnology
  • natural products
  • redox molecules
  • selective optimization
  • synergism

Published Papers (1 paper)

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21 pages, 5530 KiB  
Comparative Investigation into the Roles of Imipenem:Cyclodextrin Complexation and Antibiotic Combination in Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance in Gram-Negative Bacteria
by Sara Mahmoud Farhan, Rehab Mahmoud Abd El-Baky, Hala Rady Ahmed, Zeinab Fathalla, Ali Alamri, Hamdy Abdelkader and Adel Al Fatease
Pharmaceuticals 2023, 16(10), 1508; - 23 Oct 2023
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Extensively drug-resistant (XDR), multidrug-resistant (MDR) and pandrug-resistant (PDR) Gram-negative microorganisms (GNBs) are considered a significant global threat. β-lactam and aminoglycoside combinations and imipenem:cyclodextrin inclusion complexes were studied for the treatment of lethal GNBs. This is because of the broad empiric coverage of the [...] Read more.
Extensively drug-resistant (XDR), multidrug-resistant (MDR) and pandrug-resistant (PDR) Gram-negative microorganisms (GNBs) are considered a significant global threat. β-lactam and aminoglycoside combinations and imipenem:cyclodextrin inclusion complexes were studied for the treatment of lethal GNBs. This is because of the broad empiric coverage of the two drugs and their possession of different spectra of activity. Two cyclodextrins (β- and hydroxy propyl β-cyclodextrins) were utilized for inclusion complex formation with imipenem using the physical and kneading methods. In silico investigation using the molecular docking and Fourier-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were employed to estimate binding constant and confirm complex formation, respectively. The in vitro effects of amikacin and imipenem combination in comparison to the effect of imipenem-β- and hydroxy propyl β-cyclodextrin (CD) complexes against Klebsiella spp. and Acinetobacter baumannii were studied. The isolated microorganisms’ antimicrobial responsiveness to various antibiotics (19 antibiotics) was evaluated. It was found that piperacillin/tazobactam and gentamycin (resistance rates were 33.3% and 34%, respectively) were the most effective antimicrobials. The in vitro studies have been performed by the checkerboard technique and time-killing assay. The studied combination of amikacin and imipenem showed a substantial drop in bacterial count (p < 0.05). The in vitro studies demonstrated a synergism for the investigated combination. Conventional PCR was used in molecular studies to identify the resistance genes bla IMP and aac (6′)-Ib. The blaIMP and aac (6′)-Ib were recorded in 38.2% and 3.6% of the studied isolates, respectively. The in vitro studies showed synergistic effects among the tested antibiotics with FICIs of ≤0.5. Finally, the study compared the reduction in bacterial count between the tested antibiotic combinations and imipenem:CD physical and kneaded mixtures. Imipenem:CD inclusion complexes demonstrated a significant bacterial count reduction over the antibiotic combination. These results highlight the emerging role of CDs as safe biofunctional excipients in the combat against superbug bacterial resistance. Full article
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