Microbial Biofilms and Novel Elimination Strategies

Live/Dead stained marine biofilm

What we do

The team investigates microbial biofilms. Understanding biofilms is critically important for managing contaminations in water, food and medical areas. We strive to discover better treatment options for problematic biofilms that lead to an improvement in treatment costs, human health, energy use and the reduction of harmful chemicals.

A decontamination technology for biofilms that is rapid, not prone to microbial resistance, does not adversely affect the products and critically leaves no residual chemistry on the treated product is highly desired. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), an ionised gas, has the potential to achieve these goals and the interactions of cold plasma with microbial biofilms is of great interest.

Cold plasma

Cold plasma can be used to decontaminate food and extend its shelf life (Mai-Prochnow et al 2021).

Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), is a lightning-like state generated from the air or other gases with a high voltage. In CAP many active species are produced that have antimicrobial activity.

Microbial biofilms

Gas plasma can eliminate resistant biofilms grown on stainless steel coupons (Mai-Prochnow et al 2015).

Biofilms are complex communities of microbial cells (bacteria, archaea, and fungi) that are attached to a living or non-living surface and are encased within self-produced extracellular polymeric substances (EPS).