Jessica Elizabeth Geyer, Hannah Corinne Gordon



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Antimicrobial resistance is a leading concern for medical professionals around the world, the lack of efficacy of many major antibiotics is now causing once treatable strains of bacteria to run rampant infections. One primary pathogen of concern is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a deadly bacterium that causes severe human infections and exhibits a high mortality rate for immunocompromised individuals. While a single cell of P. aeruginosa can rapidly acquire antibiotic resistance, the biofilms it self-produces provides it with an additional 1000 times more resistance. Bacterial biofilms produce an extracellular matrix that acts as a scaffold for growth and imparts a form of protection against predators, harsh conditions, and chemicals. As the problem of antibiotics resistance rises coupled with the difficult eradication of biofilms, there is an urgent need for an alternative and more reliable method of bacterial treatment. Our lab has produced a novel patented zinc containing porphyrin, Zn(II)meso-5,10,15-triyl-tris(1-methylpyridin-1-ium)-20-(pentafluorophenyl) porphine tritosylate (ZnPor), which exhibits broad antibacterial activity against planktonic and biofilm-associated cells. ZnPor interacts with the biofilm which results in a more porous biofilm that dissembles and detaches from substrata, making the bacterial cells inherently more accessible and susceptible to removal. In this work we show a synergistic combination treatment between ZnPor and an obligately lytic P. aeruginosa specific bacteriophage, PEV2. There is greater biofilm deconstruction from various medically relevant substrata such as polyethylene, titanium, and hydroxyapatite. These activities do not require photoactivation; however, when photoactivation is added the combinational therapy, there is even further removal of the biofilm and killing of associated cells. We also present data that demonstrates ZnPor possesses activity against the bacteriophage PEV2. We refer to this as the “take no prisoners” approach; intended to mop up the battlefield of the phage-bacteria war; thus, reducing the survival of phage resistant bacteria and addressing the issue of bacterial resistance.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Jayne B. Robinson

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Novel Patented Porphyrin Works Synergistically with Bacteriophage PEV2 in the Removal of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms on Medically Relevant Substrata