Effective prevention of microbial biofilm formation on medical devices by low-energy surface acoustic waves

Zadik Kazan, Jona Zumeris, Harold Jacob, Hanan Raskin, Gera Kratysh, Moshe Vishnia, Naama Dror, Tilda Barliya, Mathilda Mandel, Gad Lavie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-energy surface acoustic waves generated from electrically activated piezo elements are shown to effectively prevent microbial biofilm formation on indwelling medical devices. The development of biofilms by four different bacteria and Candida species is prevented when such elastic waves with amplitudes in the nanometer range are applied. Acoustic-wave-activated Foley catheters have all their surfaces vibrating with longitudinal and transversal dispersion vectors homogeneously surrounding the catheter surfaces. The acoustic waves at the surface are repulsive to bacteria and interfere with the docking and attachment of planktonic microorganisms to solid surfaces that constitute the initial phases of microbial biofilm development. FimH-mediated adhesion of uropathogenic Escherichia coli to guinea pig erythrocytes was prevented at power densities below thresholds that activate bacterial force sensor mechanisms. Elevated power densities dramatically enhanced red blood cell aggregation. We inserted Foley urinary catheters attached with elastic-wave-generating actuators into the urinary tracts of male rabbits. The treatment with the elastic acoustic waves maintained urine sterility for up to 9 days compared to 2 days in control catheterized animals. Scanning electron microscopy and bioburden analyses revealed diminished biofilm development on these catheters. The ability to prevent biofilm formation on indwelling devices and catheters can benefit the implanted medical device industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4144-4152
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


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