Reducing the risk of infection associated with medical devices and surfaces in the healthcare setting has huge public health significance.
This risk is compounded by the emergence and persistence of multi-antibiotic resistant bacteria which is considered as one of the greatest global threats to human health. Such resistance threatens the treatment of even simple infections. However, very little is known about how bacteria develop resistance on medical surfaces within which sometimes antimicrobials have been incorporated. The key mysteries are how bacteria evolve and respond dynamically to antimicrobials on such surfaces.
We developed a publicly available, experimental workflow that allows to reproducibly grow biofilms and study their underlying resistance mechanisms. Our findings show that the combination of antimicrobials used within surfaces and antibiotics supplied systemically can have an important impact on selecting for resistance. Further, we identified new mechanisms that bacteria use to dynamically adapt to antibiotics when these bacteria grow on surfaces. One such mechanism is associated to the molecular machine that allows bacteria to swim (i.e. the flagellum). These novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms associated to surface growth and the combination effects of antimicrobial surfaces together with systemically applied antibiotics should be taken into consideration when evaluating new antimicrobial surfaces used in the healthcare setting and in medical devices.
- Frank Schreiber, BAM-Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany (Coordinator)
- Qun Zulian Ren, Empa. Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland
- Henny C van der Mei, University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands
- Saul Faust, University Hospital Southampton, United Kingdom
- Matthias Buhmann, Empa. Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland
- Henk J. Busscher, University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands
- Jeremy Webb, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Presentation of the project by coordinator Frank Schreiber: Presentation video BEAT-AMR, February 2022
- bioRxiv, 2020. An integrated model system to gain mechanistic insights into biofilm formation and antimicrobial resistance development in Pseudomonas aeruginosa MPAO1
- Journal of Hospital Infection, 2020. Selection of resistance by antimicrobial coatings in the healthcare setting
- npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, 2020. An integrated model system to gain mechanistic insights into biofilm-associated antimicrobial resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa MPAO1
- Front Microbiol, 2021. Prevalent Synergy and Antagonism Among Antibiotics and Biocides in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Curr Opin Biotechnol, 2020. Environmental drivers of metabolic heterogeneity in clonal microbial populations.
- J Colloid Interface Sci, 2019. Substrate viscosity plays an important role in bacterial adhesion under fluid flow.