A Natural Molecule for Inducing Dispersion of Microbial Biofilms


A novel dispersion inducing agent for microbial biofilms

Bacterial biofilms have been implicated in more than 80 percent of chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases, including ear infections, native valve endocarditis, urinary tract infections, burn and non-healing wounds and infections of indwelling medical devices. Biofilms are also the principal cause of biofouling, a persistent problem in marine and industrial environments. Biofouling affects food processing, water purification and distribution, the pharmaceutical and petroleum industries, as well as essentially all other industries having materials exposed to water. Biofilm cells differ from their planktonic counterparts in the genes and proteins they express, resulting in distinct phenotypes that include altered resistance to biocides, antibiotics and the human immune system.

The current invention developed by researchers at Binghamton University is an agent that induces biofilms to disperse. Because the agent acts as a signaling molecule giving the cells a positive signal to disperse, a very small active concentration is needed compared to standard dispersion agents. Upon dissolving the biofilm, the infection can thereby be treated using standard drugs. Inclusion of the agent with known antibiotics has been shown to increase the efficacy of these drugs considerably. The drug is safe for human consumption in the concentrations used and can furthermore be attached to surfaces of medical instruments and incorporated into surface coatings. As such, the agent has a variety of commercial applications ranging from treatment of infectious diseases, health and hygiene, and medical devices, to anti-fouling in various industrial processes including food processing.


 Causes dispersion of biofilms and prevents formation of biofilms

 Active against a variety of microorganisms, including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria as well as fungi

 Increases the efficacy of antibiotics and microbiocides

 Active at low concentrations (nanomolar)


 Treat infections

 Wound healing

 Oral hygiene

 Skin care

 Medical devices

 Food processing

 Surface coatings

 Anti-corrosion


 Active against a variety of microorganisms (gram-negative bacteria, gram-positive bacteria, as well as fungi)

 Gives the cells a positive signal to disperse

 Can be combined with widely used antibiotics

 Active at very low concentrations (nanomolar)

 Inexpensive

 Safe


US and international patents pending


David G. Davies

David Davies, an associate professor of biology at Binghamton University, has isolated a compound that will cause biofilm colonies to disperse, thus leaving individual bacteria up to 1,000 times more susceptible to disinfectants, antibiotics and immune functions. The discovery could prove useful in health care, manufacturing, shipping and pharmaceutics.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Per Stromhaug
Executive Director
Binghamton University
(607) 777-5873
David Davies
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