Natural deep eutectic solvents as biofilm structural breakers

Maria F. Nava Ocampo, Lamya Al Fuhaid, Robert Verpoorte, Young Hae Choi, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht, Johannes S. Vrouwenvelder, Geert Jan Witkamp, Andreia S.F. Farinha, Szilard Bucs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NADES) are composed of supramolecular interactions of two or more natural compounds, such as organic acids, sugars, and amino acids, and they are being used as a new media alternative to conventional solvents. In this study, a new application of NADES is presented as a possible technology for biofilm structural breaker in complex systems since the current solvents used for biofilm cleaning and extraction of biofilm components use hazardous solutions. The NADES (betaine:urea:water and Lactic acid:glucose:water) were analyzed before and after the biofilm treatment by attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy. Our results indicate that the green solvents could solubilize up to ≈70 percent of the main components of the biofilms extracellular matrix. The solubilization of the biomolecules weakened the biofilm structure, which could enhance the biofilm solubilization and removal. The NADES have the potential to be an environment-friendly, green solvent to extract valuable compounds and break the main structure from the biofilm, leading to a greener method for extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) extraction and biofilm treatment in various water treatment systems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117323
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-06-07
Acknowledgements: The authors thank King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) for funding this research project.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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