Gallium Against Bacterial Biofilms

  • Author: Lisa-Marie Rauschendorfer
  • Published: 07 December 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Advanced Healthcare Materials/Wiley-VCH
thumbnail image: Gallium Against Bacterial Biofilms

Bacteria in wounds often grow within biofilms, which are structured communities of bacteria encased by polymeric matrices. In these films, bacteria are highly tolerant to antimicrobial agents. Ga3+ has been shown to provide an effective treatment: Ga3+, which is chemically similar to Fe3+, blocks Fe3+ binding sites on redox proteins. These proteins are indispensable for bacterial growth and also for the biofilm formation.

However, Ga3+ has two drawbacks: a concentration above 36 μM is highly toxic for mammalian cells and Ga3+ forms insoluble precipitates (Ga(OH)3) under physiological conditions, reducing its bioavailability.

Nicholas L. Abbott, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, and colleagues designed a microfilm comprising a polyelectrolyte layer of poly(allylaminehydrochloride) and poly(acrylic acid) containing Ga(NO3)3 and a mechanically robust poly(vinylalcohol) film. This film is then used to functionalize the surface of wound dressings. The polymeric film steadily releases Ga3+ in noncytotoxic concentrations over 20 days and effectively disperses existing biofilms, as well as prevents the formation of new bacterial biofilms.


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