Biofilm-Disrupting Components


Enzymes, like DNase I, α-amylase and DspB are biofilm-dispersing agents that degrade the biofilm matrix, permitting increased penetration of antibiotics. 

Proteolytic enzymes like serrapeptase or lumbrokinase help the body break down protein involved in inflammation and mucous. It may also help disrupt the outer layers of biofilms and uncover hidden microbes.

Usnic acid, a lichen metabolite, possesses inhibitory activity against bacterial and fungal biofilms via QS interference. 

Garlic inhibits the expression of several genes that control bacterial QS. The star in garlic’s arsenal is ajoene, the sulfur-containing compound produced when garlic is crushed. Ajoene inhibits production of rhamnolipid, which shields biofilms from white blood cells. Over 90% of biofilm bacteria were killed with a combination of ajoene and the antibiotic tobramycin. Garlic also has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-protozoal properties, and benefits the cardiovascular and immune systems. [Jakobsen et al., 2012] These sulfur compounds from garlic quickly lose their activity upon exposure to oxygen.

A willow bark extract, hamamelitannin, also inhibits QS. [Morgan, 2015]

Resveratrol demonstrated significant antimicrobial properties on periodontal pathogens [O’Connor et al., 2011] 

Cranberry has a reputation for keeping bacteria from sticking to surfaces. The red pigments in cranberries have been shown to inhibit biofilm formation. 

Chlorogenic acids (CGA), largely from coffee, are cinnamic acid derivatives with important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. [Farah et al., 2008] In vitro antibacterial and anti-biofilm activities of chlorogenic acid against clinical isolates of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) was investigated. The MIC and MBC values ranged from 8 to 32 μg/mL. In vitro antibiofilm testing showed a 4-fold reduction in biofilm viability at 4x MIC. [Karunanidhi et al., 2012] 

Boswellic acids are pentacyclic triterpenes, produced in plants belonging to the genus Boswellia, with potent anti-biofilm properties. Acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid, which exhibited the most potent antibacterial activity, was effective against all 112 pathogenic gram positive bacteria tested (MIC range, 2-8 μg/ml). It inhibited biofilms formed by S. aureus and S. epidermidis, and could also disrupt preexisting biofilms. Disruption of bacterial membranes is the likely mode of action. [Raja et al., 2011] 

The leaf extract of Pongamia pinnata showed significant antibiofilm activity [Karlapudi et al., 2012]. The antimicrobial activity of the plant extract is attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds, such as alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenoids and polyacetylenes. [Shan et al., 2007] 

Wheat bran extract exhibits anti-biofilm activity, inhibiting biofilm formation and destroying pre-formed S. aureus biofilm in dairy cows with mastitis. [González-Ortiz et al., 2014] 

Farnesol and xylitol were shown to possess antibiofilm and antibacterial effects when used in root canal irrigants. [Alves et al., 2013] Xylitol is a low-carb sweetener found in toothpaste and diet sodas. When bacteria incorporate xylitol into the biofilm, it makes for a flimsy structure. [Morgan, 2015] 

Aspirin and many other naturally-occurring salicylates have been shown to inhibit the macromolecules that make up the biofilm matrix [Domenico et al, 1990; Muller et al., 1998]. Salicylates are produced by many plants in response to infection. 

In one study, 85% improvement was seen among 66 chronic Lyme disease patients with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, together with antibiotics. [Huang et al., 2014] 

Several Salvia (Sage) species widely used as spices were evaluated for their antimicrobial activities, including their anti-adhesive and anti-biofilm effects. Salvia triloba extract demonstrated significant bacteriocidal activity against MRSA. Its volatile oil was active against all tested microorganisms except P. aeruginosa. S. triloba extract and volatile oil were active against biofilms, demonstrating anti-adhesion and anti-biofilm activities, respectively. The antimicrobial activities of other Salvia species were negligible. [Al-Bakri et al., 2010]

 Silver is an important antimicrobial agent used as a coating to reduce bacterial adhesion to biomaterials and prevent infections. Silver ions increase bacterial membrane permeability, induce de-energization of cells, leakage of cellular content, and disruption DNA replication. [Marambio-Jones & Hoek, 2010] Many studies support an anti-biofilm component of silver. However, a recent study suggests that silver may indirectly promote bacterial adhesion [Carvalho et al., 2013]. 

By tying up iron, lactoferrin could conceivably show anti-biofilm activity. Lactoferrin shows powerful anti-candida and anti-bacterial properties. [DePas et al., 2012] 

Bismuth appears to work largely by inhibiting bacterial EPS [Domenico et al., 1991, 1992] via competitive interference with iron metabolism.  Pepto-Bismol is comprised of two independent and additive anti-biofilm agents, bismuth and salicylate [Domenico et al, 1991, 1992]. The likely main action of Pepto-Bismol is to dampen overgrowth of biofilm in the gut.  Bismuth-thiols (BTs) have potent, broad spectrum activity, even against antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally BTs prevent and eradicate microbial biofilms at low micromolar concentrations. 

Chelation therapy with EDTA removes many of these heavy metals and shows anti-biofilm effects. Chelating agents show biofilm dispersing qualities because the biofilm matrix is held together largely by minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Phosphate is involved also, to solidify the biofilm structure. EDTA weakens the structure of biofilms to allow the immune system or antibiotics to gain access to the microbes hiding deep within biofilm community.  EDTA may supercharge antibiotics by 1000-fold. [Finnegan & Percival, 2014] 

Another metal chelator, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), at low milligram levels, was found to decrease biofilm formation by a variety of bacteria and reduced the production of EPS matrix, while promoting biofilm disruption [Pézer- Giraldo et al., 1997].  Using detox agents like charcoal to mop up certain poisons and toxic metabolites, may conceivably protect the gut biofilm, and ward off pathogenic biofilms.

Charcoal shows life-extending effects in laboratory rats.[Frolkis et al., 1989] 

Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) are cationic, amphipathic substances that are part of the innate immunity in animals, plants, and some microbes. AMPs bind to and disrupt bacterial membranes, and efficiently kill biofilms.

Low-frequency ultrasound treatment in combination with antibiotics is promising for biofilm removal. [He et al., 2011] Ultrasound facilitates transport of antibiotics across biofilms, and increases sensitivity of biofilm-growing bacteria to antibiotics. [Carmen et al., 2005; Dong et al., 2013] It has been used as a treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis. [Bartley & Young, 2009] Ultrasound could conceivably be used in tandem with any one or more anti-biofilm agents. 

Taurolidine decreases bacterial adherence to host cells by destroying fimbriae (appendages used to stick to surfaces), which prevents biofilm formation. Bacterial resistance against taurolidine has yet to be observed. No systemic side effects have been identified. However, high concentrations (up to 5 mg/mL) are required for activity. 

Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) is one of the most useful health tools around. It’s alkalizing effects notwithstanding, antibiofilm activity may be one of the important reasons for its wide ranging benefits.[Gawande, 2008] Bicarbonates also work well with bismuth thiols, which show optimum effects at alkaline pHs. [Domenico et al., 1997] Potassium bicarbonate may be the preferred oral form of baking soda, since potassium offsets the ill effects of a high-sodium diet, helps build bones, lower blood pressure, etc. It also raises the pH of urine to significantly improve host defenses against biofilms in the urinary tract. 

Polymers called mucins adhere to bacteria and prevent them from sticking together on a surface, making them harmless. [Caldara et al., 2012] see more      



Video On Biofilm

Uploaded on Apr 3, 2010

This video is a 10 minute clip, part of a 70 minute interview with Dr. Sapi from the University of New Haven. She is credited with being the first researcher to demonstrate that Lyme spirochetes can actually create their own complex biofilm community to survive indefinitely within their hosts; both human and animal.