Extracellular DNA as a target for biofilm control

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2015 Jun;33:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.12.002. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


Bacterial biofilms endure high concentrations of biocides, and new strategies for biofilm control must therefore replace or complement the use of antibiotics, for example, by targeting the extracellular matrix to cause dispersal or increased antimicrobial susceptibility. Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a matrix component of most biofilms, and is therefore an attractive target. Enzymatic degradation of eDNA can prevent, disperse, or sensitize biofilm to antimicrobials, but cheaper production is required to realize large-scale application. Replacing mammalian DNase with bacterial nucleases could offer a path to lower production costs. Alternatively, eDNA could be targeted by disrupting its interactions with other matrix components. As new knowledge about eDNA-binding matrix components comes to light, exciting opportunities for targeting the biofilm matrix via eDNA are emerging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / biosynthesis
  • Biofilms*
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Deoxyribonucleases