Author(s): Olofsson AC, Hermansson M, Elwing H
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Abstract N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is used in medical treatment of patients with chronic bronchitis. The positive effects of NAC treatment have primarily been attributed to the mucus-dissolving properties of NAC, as well as its ability to decrease biofilm formation, which reduces bacterial infections. Our results suggest that NAC also may be an interesting candidate for use as an agent to reduce and prevent biofilm formation on stainless steel surfaces in environments typical of paper mill plants. Using 10 different bacterial strains isolated from a paper mill, we found that the mode of action of NAC is chemical, as well as biological, in the case of bacterial adhesion to stainless steel surfaces. The initial adhesion of bacteria is dependent on the wettability of the substratum. NAC was shown to bind to stainless steel, increasing the wettability of the surface. Moreover, NAC decreased bacterial adhesion and even detached bacteria that were adhering to stainless steel surfaces. Growth of various bacteria, as monocultures or in a multispecies community, was inhibited at different concentrations of NAC. We also found that there was no detectable degradation of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) by NAC, indicating that NAC reduced the production of EPS, in most bacteria tested, even at concentrations at which growth was not affected. Altogether, the presence of NAC changes the texture of the biofilm formed and makes NAC an interesting candidate for use as a general inhibitor of formation of bacterial biofilms on stainless steel surfaces.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology