Halophilic microorganisms as a source of novel antibiofilm compounds

Julianne Megaw, Alessandro Busetti, Christine Maggs, Brendan Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Objectives: There is great urgency for alternate sources of antibiotics to be identified. One relatively untapped source of novel bioproducts, including antimicrobials, is organisms derived from extreme environments. Halophiles (which require high salt concentrations) are one such group which is being increasingly explored for their biotechnological potential. The aim of this study was to identify halophilic environmental isolates which possessed in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities. Methods: 73 halophilic bacteria and archaea were isolated from Kilroot salt mine in Northern Ireland. Culture extracts of each isolate were screened for antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity against numerous pathogenic bacteria, including Staphylococcus species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both model strains and clinical isolates. The methods used included disc diffusion assays of crude extracts, MIC screening, the MBEC assay, and an in vivo model based on the Greater Wax Moth (Galleria mellonella). Results: The assays indicated >50% of extracts displayed antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity against at least one pathogen, the majority being Staphylococcus species, but also E. coli and P. aeruginosa. Biofilms were either reduced or eradicated by halophile extracts when tested with the MBEC device. Further experiments demonstrated that these effects could be replicated in vivo, with extracts reducing the severity of infections and enhancing the survival of infected G. mellonella. Conclusions: The importance of extremophiles to pharmaceutical research should not be underestimated. While not yet fully characterised, based on the data obtained, the halophiles isolated during this study may provide a promising reservoir of novel antimicrobial and antibiofilm compounds.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
EventEurobiofilms 2013 - 3rd European Congress on Microbial Biofilms - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 09 Sept 201312 Sept 2013


ConferenceEurobiofilms 2013 - 3rd European Congress on Microbial Biofilms


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