School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Antimicrobial Research


Tea tree oil distillationOur group has been investigating the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil since the early 1990's. At that time there was little scientific data to support the claims made about tea tree oil.

Since then we have studied many aspects of the antimicrobial activity of the oil. These include, but are not limited to, the following; 

Laboratory studies

  • Determine the activity of tea tree oil against a wide range of bacteria and fungi
  • Investigate effects of tea tree oil on biofilm
  • Examine effects of tea tree oil on the adhesion of Candida to human cells
  • Establish the activity of important tea tree oil components
  • Investigate the effects of tea tree oil on bacterial virulence
  • Examine the mechanisms of action of tea tree oil and components
  • Determine the in vitro activity of pharmacy products containing tea tree oil
  • Study whether bacteria can become resistant to tea tree oil
  • Quantify the effectiveness of tea tree oil handwashes for removing bacteria from hands

Clinical studies

  • Use of tea tree oil for decolonising chronic wounds
  • Effectiveness of a tea tree oil gel for cold sores (herpes labialis)
  • Tea tree oil gel to eradicate MRSA carriage
 For more information visit our FAQ and Publication pages