Biofilm inhibition by novel natural product- and biocide-containing coatings using high-throughput screening

Maria Salta, Simon Dennington, Julian Wharton

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The use of natural products (NPs) as possible alternative biocidal compounds for use in antifouling coatings has been the focus of research over the past decades. Despite the importance of this field, the efficacy of a given NP against biofilm (mainly bacteria and diatoms) formation is tested with the NP being in solution, while almost no studies test the effect of an NP once incorporated into a coating system. The development of a novel bioassay to assess the activity of NP-containing and biocide-containing coatings against marine biofilm formation has been achieved using a high-throughput microplate reader and highly sensitive confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), as well as nucleic acid staining. Juglone, an isolated NP that has previously shown efficacy against bacterial attachment, was incorporated into a simple coating matrix. Biofilm formation over 48 h was assessed and compared against coatings containing the NP and the commonly used booster biocide, cuprous oxide. Leaching of the NP from the coating was quantified at two time points, 24 h and 48 h, showing evidence of both juglone and cuprous oxide being released. Results from the microplate reader showed that the NP coatings exhibited antifouling efficacy, significantly inhibiting biofilm formation when compared to the control coatings, while NP coatings and the cuprous oxide coatings performed equally well. CLSM results and COMSTAT analysis on biofilm 3D morphology showed comparable results when the NP coatings were tested against the controls, with higher biofilm biovolume and maximum thickness being found on the controls. This new method proved to be repeatable and insightful and we believe it is applicable in antifouling and other numerous applications where interactions between biofilm formation and surfaces is of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1434
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2018


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