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Medicinal plants are frequently used for the treatment of various infectious diseases. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity and mode of action of Acacia nilotica and the antibiogram patterns of foodborne and clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The mechanism of action of acacia extracts against E. coli and Salmonella was elucidated by observing morphological damages including cell integrity and cell membrane permeability, as well as changes in cell structures and growth patterns in kill-time experiments. The clinical isolates of E. coli and Salmonella were found resistant to more of the tested antibiotics, compared to food isolates. Minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration of acacia leaf extracts were in the ranges of 1.56-3.12 mg/mL and 3.12-6.25 mg/mL, respectively, whereas pods and bark extracts showed somewhat higher values of 3.12-6.25 mg/mL and 6.25-12.5 mg/mL, respectively, against all tested pathogens. The release of electrolytes and essential cellular constituents (proteins and nucleic acids) indicated that acacia extracts damaged the cellular membrane of the pathogens. These changes corresponded to simultaneous reduction in the growth of viable bacteria. This study indicates that A. nilotica can be a potential source of new antimicrobials, effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens.

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SEM, antibacterial activity, antibiogram, bacterial membrane permeability, kill-time analysis, Acacia, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Bacterial Proteins, Cell Membrane, Cell Membrane Permeability, DNA, Bacterial, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial, Escherichia coli, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Plant Extracts, Plant Leaves, Salmonella