Strategies for the prevention and remediation of bacterial biofilms

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Biology


Department of Biology


Advisor: Jayne B. Robinson


It is now generally recognized that the dominant state of microorganisms in nature is that of the biofilm, a community of microorganisms that grows, not as a free-swimming community, but in close association with an interface between two phases, be it a liquid and solid surface, liquid and air, or even two non-miscible liquids (such as water and oil). This growth form possesses many unique attributes when compared to its planktonic, free-swimming counter part. Biofilms are composed of cells with diverse metabolic states, are protected from their environment by the extracellular matrix, can differ greatly in conditions (e.g. pH, diffusion of nutrients) within the biofilm compared to the bulk medium. These factors result in biofilms being more resistant to biocide and antibiotic treatment than planktonic cells. This resistance has resulted in the pursuit for new ways to both deter the formation of biofilms and eradicate those that have already been established. This current work takes two approaches, in two very different environments, to accomplish these goals. The first chapters address the fouling of aviation fuels by Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms and introduces the use of bacteriophage as a method preventing such fouling. The latter portion of this work introduces a cationic porphyrin with the ability to prevent and remediate Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms in the presence and absence of photoactivation and begins to suggest mechanisms for this activity. This porphyrin has the potential to be applied across a many fields including medicine and industry. Together these approaches begin to address the challenges posed by biofilms.


Biofilms Prevention, Fouling organisms, Bacteriophages, Porphyrins, Biology, Microbiology, Bacteriophage, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, biofouling, anti-fouling, porphyrins, biofilm, Jet A, fuel

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2017, author