Our researchers at Nottingham University are trying to find novel surface coatings that prevent superbugs sticking and building slime city communities called biofilms. Biofilms are difficult to eradicate as the slime prevents antimicrobials reaching the bacteria to stop them grow. Biofilms also act as a reservoir of infection. This is important because in hospitals, biofilms form on medical devices like catheters. The economic cost of medical device associated infections to the NHS is an estimated £1 billion per year. Our new plastic coatings provide a novel way to reduce hospital infections, saving money.
By screening many polymers, we identified a group that reduces bacterial adhesion and prevents biofilm formation. These materials have been used to coat medical devices where it is hoped they will reduce infection rates in clinic by preventing bacterial biofilm formation, thereby helping the fight against superbugs.
We are also investigating how bacteria stick to surfaces, interact with the surface, form biofilms and resist antimicrobials. This is providing fascinating insight into the material and biochemical factors contributing to the decision of bacteria to stick or not-stick to materials. Aside from the hospital, this will have applications in the home and industry e.g. reducing malodour in washing machines and de-clogging pipes.
Scales of Resistance vido clip (above)
Sound Design by Kaspar Broyd @ String and Tins
Biomaterials Discovery at the University of Nottingham