Biofilm or bulkhead film? This protein gives bacteria the flick

Researchers from the University of Newcastle, UK, found NucB, an enzyme isolated from Bacillus licheniformis, a marine bacterium found on the surface of seaweed, could disperse the microbial biofilms which prevent antibiotic nasal sprays from working.

Put to work, the enzyme degrades extracellular DNA found in the biofilms, the researchers reported.

They found NucB disrupted 58% (14 of 24) of the biofilms formed in vitro from clinical isolates taken from 20 patients undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery. 

“In effect, the enzyme breaks down the extracellular DNA, which is acting like a glue to hold the cells to the surface of the sinuses,” a study author said.

“Within biofilms, micro-organisms are up to 1000-fold more resistant to antibiotics than free-living cells of the same species.”

The study was conducted after an otolaryngology, head and neck surgery consultant at Freemason Hospital was