Image source: University of Rochester / J. Adam Fenster
The research provides important information for creating synthetic materials and in developing drugs to fight the negative effects of biofilms. The researchers published their findings in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology.
Biofilms can be both harmful and beneficial to humans: they can coat the surfaces of materials and objects, including medical devices, and cause infections, and they are resistant to many drugs and disinfectants. However, biofilms are able to degrade toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants, making them useful in areas such as wastewater treatment.
In their latest research, Meyer and her colleagues show that engineered biofilms can behave like natural ones. The researchers developed a 3D printing technique that allows them to synthetically engineer and study biofilms made of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The technique will allow researchers to better study the properties of biofilms so they can harness their beneficial aspects and combat their harmful effects. “This paper shows that our engineered biofilms can behave like native biofilms in many ways—including displaying emergent drug resistance—making them good model systems for anti-biofilm drug development,” Meyer says.
Source: University of Rochester