Surface acoustic waves increase the susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms to antibiotic treatment

Biofouling. 2011 Aug;27(7):701-10. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2011.597051.


Bacterial urinary tract infections resulting from prolonged patient catheterization have become a major health problem. One of the major issues is bacterial resistance to antibiotic treatments due to biofilm formation inside the catheters, thus enhancing the search for alternative treatments. In the present study, a device containing a piezo element capable of transmitting low-frequency surface acoustic waves (SAW) onto the indwelling catheter was used. The SAW were able to eradicate biofilm-residing bacteria by >85% when applied simultaneously with an antibiotic in three clinically relevant species, viz. Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Moreover, transcriptome analysis revealed that SAW can alter the transcription pattern of P. aeruginosa, suggesting that this signal can be specifically sensed by the bacterium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Sound*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / growth & development
  • Vibration


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents