Bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation pose key challenges to the optimal performance of medical devices. In this study, we determined the attachment of selected bacterial species to hundreds of polymeric materials in a high-throughput microarray format. Using this method, we identified a group of structurally related materials comprising ester and cyclic hydrocarbon moieties that substantially reduced the attachment of pathogenic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli). Coating silicone with these 'hit' materials achieved up to a 30-fold (96.7%) reduction in the surface area covered by bacteria compared with a commercial silver hydrogel coating in vitro, and the same material coatings were effective at reducing bacterial attachment in vivo in a mouse implant infection model. These polymers represent a class of materials that reduce the attachment of bacteria that could not have been predicted to have this property from the current understanding of bacteria-surface interactions.
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Funding from the Wellcome Trust (grant no. 085245 and support from N. Shepherd) and the Medical Research Council UK (for the in vivo work; grant no. G0802525) is gratefully acknowledged. M. Alexander gratefully acknowledges the Royal Society for the provision of his Wolfson Research Merit Award. Assistance with ToF-SIMS measurements from D. Scurr is kindly acknowledged. Assistance with the preparation of polymer for in vivo studies by E. Eaves, N. Nguyen and J. Li is kindly acknowledged.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Hook, A., Chang, CY., Yang, J. et al. Combinatorial discovery of polymers resistant to bacterial attachment. Nat Biotechnol 30, 868–875 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2316
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