|Keywords||Anti Biofilm, Biological Control, Controlled Release, Environmentally Friendly|
|Current development stage||General list: TRL2 Technology Concept Formulated
|Collaboration Opportunity||Sponsored Research with an option to License Research Results|
Biofilms are matrix-enclosed microbial aggregates that adhere to a biological or nonbiological surface. The complex microbial community of a biofilm is highly resistant to antibiotics and sanitizers and confers persistent survival that is a challenge to overcome. Biofilm formation is a significant problem in various industries and can lead to substantial economic and health problems. Many outbreaks of pathogens have been attributed to biofilms, and it is estimated that biofilms account for up to 80% of microbial infections. At water and sewage treatment facilities as well as water distribution systems, biofilms (biofouling) cause metal corrosion, increase the risk of product contamination, decrease the quality of water, and reduce the efficacy of heat exchange.
Bdellovibrio like organisms (BALOs) are bacterial predators that prey on gram negative bacteria for their growth and replication. BALOs can also efficiently eradicate biofilms (i.e. see Fig. 1), including mixed biofilms that contain gram positive bacteria5. Resistance to BALO is not easily acquired and recurrent predation of prey populations does not increase resistance to predator. These properties give BALOs the potential to be a “live antibiotic”6.
We selectively target biofilms to keep the predator active; BALOs will be encapsulated in hydrocolloid micro carriers. The special carrier has the ability to adhere to biofilms and then to be decomposed/disintegrated and liberate the predatory bacteria at the desired target. The advantages of this functional delivery system of this biocontrol agent are:
Non-toxic to environment, does not generate chemical waste
Cheap to produce, store and handle
Control over rate of predator release and survival
Immobilization of high concentrations of BALO cells per g carriers
Production of micro-carriers encapsulating high counts of effective BALOs, efficiently reducing biofilms upon release. In the joint preliminary work between Prof. Nussinovitch’s group and Prof. Jurkevitch’s group, it was demonstrated that the predatory bacteria can be immobilized in a semi-solid micro scaled hydrocolloid matrix. It has been found that the bacteria retain their vitality and can be maintained under defined conditions for extended periods.
The researchers are looking for Sponsored Research with an option to license the research results.
1. Epstein, A. K., Pokroy, B., Seminara, A., & Aizenberg, J. (2011). Bacterial biofilm shows persistent resistance to liquid wetting and gas penetration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(3), 995-1000.
2 Coetser, S. E., & Cloete, T. E. (2005). Biofouling and biocorrosion in industrial water systems. Critical reviews in microbiology, 31(4), 213-232.
3 Palmer, J., Flint, S., & Brooks, J. (2007). Bacterial cell attachment, the beginning of a biofilm. Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology, 34(9), 577-588.
4 Vu, B., Chen, M., Crawford, R. J., & Ivanova, E. P. (2009). Bacterial extracellular polysaccharides involved in biofilm formation. Molecules, 14(7), 2535-2554.
5 Im, H., Dwidar, M. , Mtchell, R.J. (2018). Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus HD100, a predator of Gram-negative bacteria, benefits energetically from Staphylococcus aureus biofilms without predation. The ISME Journal 8: 2090-2095.
6 Sockett, E. R., and C. Lambert. (2004). Bdellovibrio as therapeutic agents: a predatory renaissance? Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2:669-675.