Biofilm Project(S13)

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Biofilms have proved to be a persistent problem,primarily because of there ability to house and protect pathogenic bacteria. Currently there are several methods to kill bacteria in biofilms and degrade the matrix that holds bioflims together, some of which are commercially available; however, a method to destroy bacteria protected by mucus at the base of biofilms has yet to be established.
Biofilms have proved to be a persistent problem,primarily because of there ability to house and protect pathogenic bacteria. Currently there are several methods to kill bacteria in biofilms and degrade the matrix that holds bioflims together, some of which are commercially available; however, a method to destroy bacteria protected by mucus at the base of biofilms has yet to be established.
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[[Image:biofilm_cycle.jpg|thumb|200px|]]
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Revision as of 22:59, 6 May 2013

Contents

Background

Biofilms have proved to be a persistent problem,primarily because of there ability to house and protect pathogenic bacteria. Currently there are several methods to kill bacteria in biofilms and degrade the matrix that holds bioflims together, some of which are commercially available; however, a method to destroy bacteria protected by mucus at the base of biofilms has yet to be established.


Project Goals

We would like to investigate the ability of phage to eliminate bacteria present in mucus at the base of biofilms. There are currently methods to degrade biofilms, in the form of bacteriophage and matrix degrading enzymes; however, there is no viable way to penetrate the mucus that houses the bacteria that start the biofilm. We hope to find a method to transport bacteria-killing phage past the mucus membrane to eliminate bacteria that start the biofilm.



Methods

In order to do this we hope to take advantage of the innate ability of phage to destroy bacteria. It is well known that viruses have the ability to undergo two “cycles”: the lytic cycle and lysogenic cycle. In the lytic cycle, the phage uses the bacterial machinery to produce more phage until finally releasing these new phage(presumably destroying bacteria in the process). The lysogenic cycle is when the phage DNA is instead incorporated into the host genome which can later be released. We hope to induce phage to enter the lysogenic cycle in bacteria that naturally migrate to the base mucus in biofilms. Once there, we hope to induce entrance of the lytic cycle. After this, the phage will presumably leave the bacteria and go on to infect others.

References

1. Costerton, J. W., Phillip S. Stewart, and E. P. Greenberg. "Bacterial Biofilms: A Common Cause of Persistent Infections." Science 284.5418 (199): 1318-322. Http://www.sciencemag.org/content/284/5418/1318.long. Web. 06 May 2013. <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/284/5418/1318.long>.

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