Certain pathogenic bacteria develop biofilm colonies that are extremely resilient to antibiotic treatments. The unicellular bacteria coalesce into biofilms by chemically communicating with each other using quorum sensing (QS). Certain plants like cinnamon and other organisms produce quorum-sensing inhibitors (QSI) that disrupt the communication necessary to produce a healthy, well-formed biofilm. Researchers at several academic institutions and companies have been working to uncover how QSIs might be useful for treating infectious pathogens. Observations demonstrated that QSIs increase the efficacy of antibiotics significantly. In the absence of antibiotics, QSIs alone did not kill bacteria, but they seemed to disrupt biofilm architecture in such a way that the addition of antibiotics produced high levels of bacterial suppression. A patent for this bioinspired method of inhibiting infectious biofilms has been filed by Otsuka Chemical Co., Ltd. of Japan. Development of a pharmaceutical has yet to be announced.
The number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains will increase as antibiotics continue to be overused. New techniques (such as the biomimetic use of QSIs) that increase the effectiveness of antibiotics are important medical tools.
The pulmonary pathogens associated with cystic fibrosis form antibiotic resistant biofilms. Pharmaceutical quorum-sensing inhibitors could be useful as antibiotic adjuncts for treating these infections.Edit Summary