This report details the results of an investigation into the ability of tea tree oil to prevent the formation of or disrupt existing biofilm, known in lay terms as “slime”. The importance of biofilm in industrial and commercial settings has been appreciated for decades since its formation fouls production lines, disrupts production and its management is often problematic contributing significantly to production time and costs. In medical settings, the importance of biofilm is becoming more obvious; it is now implicated in many types of infections including those of wounds, the oral cavity, ears and on devices such as catheters and pacemakers.
This report is targeted at manufacturers and marketers of tea tree oil products. It provides information regarding yet another mechanism by which tea tree oil can potentially control microorganisms. Further testing of appropriate formulations may lead to products for this significant market.