The Chemistry of Biofilms and Their Inhibitors


Biofilms are structured microbial communities of surface-attached cells embedded in a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) composed of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, polysaccharides, and other components. They are ubiquitous in our society and are associated with a large number of serious diseases and conditions that affect human health. In fact, bacteria in biofilms are often more resistant to traditional antimicrobial drugs which makes them a very serious health risk, particularly due to their association to antibiotic resistance.

Over the past few years, biofilm research has moved to the spotlight which resulted in a strong increase in the research community studying this problem and in the number of articles published per year, indicating that this issue has been recognized as a “hot topic” by the international scientific community. Strategies to fight biofilms include both the prevention of their formation and the dispersing of mature biofilms. The large body of work made available enabled the broadening of research in this field to new disciplines and methods, moving from the cellular level to new complementary perspectives that tackle the problem from a molecular and atomic level - the chemical perspective. At the moment, a number of molecular targets to counteract biofilm formation and development, as well as synthetic and natural inhibitors are known. For some known anti-biofilm agents the mechanisms of action are still unknown. The future development in the field of anti-biofilm agents needs to be shifted to computational design and synthesis of novel multi-targeting compounds as a more effective strategy for treatment of multi-factorial diseases.

This Research Topic deals with novel chemical approaches as powerful tools to combat multi-factorial diseases, focusing on recent progress in the field of biofilm research. In that vein, this collection of articles will discuss contributions in:

i) Determination of mechanisms of actions of known potent anti-biofilm agents
ii) Identification of new inhibitors and their mechanisms of action
iii) Computational design and synthesis of novel multi-targeting inhibitors
iv) In vivo experiments for novel potent anti-biofilm agents