Red algae protects itself from bacterial infection by exuding compounds that inhibit biofilms.

The red seaweed Delisea pulchra effectively avoids a broad spectrum of bacterial infections without breeding any bacterial resistance to its defensive chemistry. Molecules known as furanones produced by the seaweed bind readily to the specific protein-covered bacterial receptor sites that receive the bacterial signaling molecules (N-acyl homoserine lactone) that normally induce surface colonization. This method of blocking bacterial communication effectively prevents bacteria from forming groups and becoming virulent, but does not physically kill them. Over 80% of bacterial infections in humans are estimated to involve the formation of bacterial colonies, or biofilms, while numerous other potential applications for this completely novel anti-bacterial technology exist. BioSignal Ltd. is now testing and/or already applying synthetic furanones based on those produced by Delisea pulchra in a variety of applications, including medical treatment and devices; pipelines; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems; cleaning products; and water treatment.


Journal article
Chemically mediated antifouling in the red alga Delisea pulchraMarine Ecology Progress SeriesOctober 8, 2007
SA Dworjanyn, R de Nys, PD Steinberg

Journal article
Chemical mediation of bacterial surface colonisation by secondary metabolites from the red alga Delisea pulchra

Journal article
Geographic variation in halogenated furanones from the red alga Delisea pulchra and associated herbivores and epiphytesMarine Ecology Progress SeriesOctober 23, 2016
JT Wright, R de Nys, PD Steinberg

Journal article
How Delisea pulchra furanones affect quorum sensing and swarming motility in Serratia liquefaciens MG1MicrobiologyOctober 23, 2016
Thomas Bovbjerg Rasmussen, Jens Bo Andersen, Leo Eberl, Uffe Anthoni, Carsten Christophersen, Michael Givskov, Peter Steinberg, Michael Manefield, Staffan Kjelleberg

Journal article
Evidence that halogenated furanones from Delisea pulchra inhibit acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated gene expression by displacing the AHL signal from its receptor proteinMicrobiologyMay 6, 2009
M. Manefield, R. de Nys, K. Naresh, R. Roger, M. Givskov, S. Peter, S. Kjelleberg

Delisea pulchraSpecies