Hindering biofilm formation with zosteric acid.

Federica Villa*, Domenico Albanese, Barbara Giussani, Philip S. Stewart, Daniele Daffonchio, Francesca Cappitelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The antifoulant, zosteric acid, was synthesized using a non-patented process. Zosteric acid at 500 mg l(-1) caused a reduction of bacterial (Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus) and fungal (Aspergillus niger, Penicillium citrinum) coverage by 90% and 57%, respectively. Calculated models allowed its antifouling activity to be predicted at different concentrations. Zosteric acid counteracted the effects of some colonization-promoting factors. Bacterial and fungal wettability was not affected, but the agent increased bacterial motility by 40%. A capillary accumulation test showed that zosteric acid did not act as a chemoeffector for E. coli, but stimulated a chemotactic response. Along with enhanced swimming migration of E. coli in the presence of zosteric acid, staining showed an increased production of flagella. Reverse transcriptase-PCR revealed an increased transcriptional level of the fliC gene and isolation and quantification of flagellar proteins demonstrated a higher flagellin amount. Biofilm experiments confirmed that zosteric acid caused a significant decrease in biomass (-92%) and thickness (-54%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-752
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology


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