Novel Surfaces to reduce biofilm adhesion

Research Area: Microbial Adhesion and Surface Chemistry

Research Sponsor: EPSRC and Procter & Gamble


Biofilms are a multispecies community of bacterial cells that can develop over time on any given surface, given enough time, available nutrients and access to water. The growth and development of biofilm on surfaces causes inefficiencies in industries such as product manufacturing due to the increased risk of contamination to products. In a medical setting, biofilm growth causes rise to infections, contamination of utensils and equipment, alongside spread of disease, it also provides an environment for antibiotic resistance.

This project will focus investigating the effects of metal oxide sol-gel coatings on polymers in order to reduce bacterial cell viability, via Confocal Laser Microscopy analysis. Polymers are materials that are commonly used for their inert, malleable and durable nature in vast quantities. However, the downside by this inert nature is that they are highly desirable for biofilm growth. The application possibilities of this technology will be examined in detail throughout this project, and optimised and tested in different environments. Understanding surface chemistry and looking to reduce biofilm adhesion can potentially help reduce significant cost to industry, improve productivity and reduce health risks that arise from contamination in product manufacturing.

Contact by E-mail


 1. B. Vu, M. Chen, R. J. Crawford and E. P. Ivanova, Molecules, 2009, 14, 2535–2554.

2. R. M. Donlan, Emerg. Infect. Dis., 2002, 8, 881–890.

3. S. Stankic, S. Suman, F. Hague and J. Vidic, J Nanobiotechnol, 2016, 14 (1), 1-20.