Lipid Coated Viruses (LCVs) and Bacteria (LCBs) - Some of the microorganisms inactivated by the lauric acid monoglycerides are listed in the table below. Many of the pathogenic organisms reported to be inactivated by these antimicrobial lipids are those known to be responsible for opportunistic infections in HIV-positive individuals. For example, concurrent infection with cytomegalovirus is recognized as a serious complication for HIV+ individuals.

The properties that determine the anti-infective action of these lipids are related to their structure; e.g., monoglycerides, free fatty acids. The monoglycerides are active, diglycerides and triglycerides are inactive. Of the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has greater antiviral activity than either caprylic acid (C-8), capric acid (C-10) or myristic acid (C-14) for these viruses.

The antiviral action attributed to monolaurin is that of solubilizing the lipids and phospholipids in the envelope of the virus causing the disintegration of the virus envelope. In effect, it is reported that the fatty acids and monoglycerides produce their killing/inactivating effect by lysing the (lipid bilayer) plasma membrane. However, there is evidence from some recent studies that one antimicrobial effect of monolaurin is related to its interference with signal transduction in cell replication.

Table 1 References

1.  Isaacs, C.E., Kim, K.S, Thormar, H. Inactivation of enveloped viruses in human bodily fluids by purified lipids. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1994;724:457-464.

2.  Kabara, J.J. Fatty acids and derivatives as antimicrobial agents -- A review, in The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids (JJ Kabara, ed) American Oil Chemists' Society, Champaign IL, 1978, pp.1-14.

3.   Kabara, J.J. Antimicrobial agents derived from fatty acids. Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society 1984;61:397-403.

4.  Kabara, J.J. Inhibition of staphylococcus aureus in The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids II (J.J. Kabara, ed) American Oil Chemists' Society, Champaign IL, 1985, pp.71-75.

5.  Fletcher, R.D., Albers, A.C., Albertson, J.N., Kabara, J.J. Effects of monoglycerides on mycoplasma pneumoniae growth, in The Pharmacological Effect of Lipids II (JJ Kabara, ed) American Oil Chemists' Society, Champaign IL, 1985, pp.59-63.

6.  Hierholzer, J.C. and Kabara, J.J. In vitro effects of monolaurin compounds on enveloped RNA and DNA viruses. Journal of Food Safety 1982;4:1-12.

7.  Boddie, R.L. and Nickerson, S.C. Evaluation of postmilking teat germicides containing Lauricidin, saturated fatty acids, and lactic acid. Journal of Dairy Science 1992;75:1725-1730.

8.  Wang, L.L. and Johnson, E.A. Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by fatty acids and monoglycerides. Appli Environ Microbiol 1992; 58:624-629.

9.  Isaacs, C.E., Th