Chemorepellent-Loaded Nanocarriers Promote Localized Interference of Escherichia coli Transport to Inhibit Biofilm Formation

Tracy J. Kuper, Leon Z. Wang, Robert K. Prud'Homme, Sujit S. Datta, Roseanne M. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To mitigate antimicrobial resistance, we developed polymeric nanocarrier delivery of the chemorepellent signaling agent, nickel, to interfere with Escherichia coli transport to a surface, an incipient biofilm formation stage. The dynamics of nickel nanocarrier (Ni NC) chemorepellent release and induced chemorepellent response required to effectively modulate bacterial transport for biofilm prevention were characterized in this work. Ni NCs were fabricated with the established Flash NanoPrecipitation method. NC size was characterized with dynamic light scattering. Measured with a zincon monosodium salt colorimetric assay, NC nickel release was pH-dependent, with 62.5% of total encapsulated nickel released at pH 7 within 0-15 min, competitive with rapid E. coli transport to the surface. Confocal laser scanning microscopy of E. coli (GFP-expressing) biofilm growth dynamics on fluorescently labeled Ni NC coated glass coupled with a theoretical dynamical criterion probed the biofilm prevention outcomes of NC design. The Ni NC coating significantly reduced E. coli attachment compared to a soluble nickel coating and reduced E. coli biomass area by 61% compared to uncoated glass. A chemical-in-plug assay revealed Ni NCs induced a chemorepellent response in E. coli. A characteristic E. coli chemorepellent response was observed away from the Ni NC coated glass over 10 μm length scales effective to prevent incipient biofilm surface attachment. The dynamical criterion provided semiquantitative analysis of NC mechanisms to control biofilm and informed optimal chemorepellent release profiles to improve NC biofilm inhibition. This work is fundamental for dynamical informed design of biofilm-inhibiting chemorepellent-loaded NCs promising to mitigate the development of resistance and interfere with the transport of specific pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5310-5320
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 21 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


  • bacteria transport
  • biofilm
  • chemorepellent
  • chemotaxis
  • nanocarriers


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