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Treatment of Biofilm Communities: An Update on New Tools from the Nanosized World

Department of Molecular Medicine (DMM), Center for Health Technologies (CHT), UdR INSTM, University of Pavia, Viale Taramelli 3/B, 27100 Pavia, Italy
School for Advanced Studies IUSS, Palazzo del Broletto-Piazza della Vittoria, 15, Pavia 27100, Italy
Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering ‘G. Natta’, UdR INSTM Milano Politecnico, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics (ISTEC)—CNR, Via Granarolo, 64, Faenza 48018, Italy
Department of Public Health, Experimental Medicine and Forensic, Human Anatomy Unit, Center of Health Technologies (CHT), University of Pavia, Viale Forlanini 8, Pavia 27100, Italy
Department of Occupational Medicine, Toxicology and Environmental Risks, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri S.p.A Società Benefit, IRCCS, Via S. Boezio, 28, Pavia 27100, Italy
Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano 20122, Italy
Internal Medicine Department, Respiratory Unit, IRCCS Fondazione Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan 20122, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 845;
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-systems for Antimicrobial Therapy)
PDF [1861 KB, uploaded 23 May 2018]


Traditionally regarded as single cell organisms, bacteria naturally and preferentially build multicellular communities that enable them to react efficiently to external stimuli in a coordinated fashion and with extremely effective outcomes. These communities are bacterial biofilms, where single cells or microcolonies are embedded in self-built Extracellular Polymeric Substance (EPS), composed of different macromolecules, e.g., polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and extracellular DNA (eDNA). Despite being the most common form in nature and having many biotechnologically useful applications, biofilm is often regarded as a life-threatening form of bacterial infection. Since this form of bacterial life is intrinsically more resistant to antibiotic treatment and antimicrobial resistance is reaching alarming levels, we will focus our attention on how nanotechnology made new tools available to the medical community for the prevention and treatment of these infections. After a brief excursus on biofilm formation and its main characteristics, different types of nanomaterials developed to prevent or counteract these multicellular forms of bacterial infection will be described. A comparison of different classifications adopted for nanodrugs and a final discussion of challenges and future perspectives are also presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibacterial nanomaterials; nanoparticles; biofilm; nanomedicine antibacterial nanomaterials; nanoparticles; biofilm; nanomedicine

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Bertoglio, F.; Bloise, N.; Oriano, M.; Petrini, P.; Sprio, S.; Imbriani, M.; Tampieri, A.; Visai, L. Treatment of Biofilm Communities: An Update on New Tools from the Nanosized World. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 845.

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