Creating Patterns in Living Bacterial Biofilms

Creating Patterns in Living Bacterial Biofilms

Author: ChemistryViews

Controlling the growth of bacterial biofilms in a specific pattern could be useful, e.g., for the study of cell-to-cell interactions. Existing biopatterning strategies often require sophisticated instruments and complex procedures or have low patterning resolutions. It can also be difficult to create biofilm patterns with different maturities/densities in one go. Thus, it would be useful to develop a straightforward and cost-effective strategy for generating living bacterial biofilms with different shapes in high spatial resolution.

Chunlei Zhu, Nankai University, China, and colleagues have developed a photodynamic biopatterning technique for the creation of such patterned living bacterial biofilms. First, the team synthesized an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) photosensitizer (MeO-TSP), which has a donor-π-acceptor (D-π-A) structure with a pyridinium unit. MeO-TSP shows strong photodynamic antibacterial activities, with a killing efficiency of, for example, over 99 % at a low concentration (2 mM) for the clinically relevant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The researchers then combined MeO-TSP with custom-designed photomasks featuring both opaque and transparent regions (pictured schematically). By shining light through the photomasks onto photosensitizer-coated bacteria, they successfully fabricated bacterial biofilms in different shapes with a high spatial resolution (ca. 24 µm) for both mono- and multispecies bacterial systems. The strategy can also be used to obtain living bacterial biofilms with graded maturities at one time by varying the light transmittance/opacities of the photomask regions. The developed approach could have applications, e.g., in information storage/encryption or antibiotic screening.


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