Hypochlorous acid-generating electrochemical scaffold eliminates Candida albicans biofilms

J Appl Microbiol. 2020 Oct;129(4):776-786. doi: 10.1111/jam.14656. Epub 2020 May 21.


Aims: Wound infections involving Candida albicans can be challenging to treat because of the fungus' ability to penetrate wound tissue and form biofilms. The goal of this study was to assess the activity of a hypochlorous acid (HOCl)-generating electrochemical scaffold (e-scaffold) against C. albicans biofilms in vitro and on porcine dermal explants (ex vivo).

Methods and results: C. albicans biofilms were grown either on acrylic-bottom six-well plates (in vitro) or on skin tissue excised from porcine ears (ex vivo), and the polarized e-scaffold was used to generate a continuous supply of low concentration HOCl near biofilm surfaces. C. albicans biofilms grown in vitro were reduced to undetectable amounts within 24 h of e-scaffold exposure, unlike control biofilms (5·28 ± 0·034 log10 (CFU cm- 2 ); P < 0·0001). C. albicans biofilms grown on porcine dermal explants were also reduced to undetectable amounts in 24 h, unlike control explant biofilms (4·29 ± 0·057 log10 (CFU cm- 2 ); P < 0·0001). There was a decrease in the number of viable mammalian cells (35·6 ± 6·4%) in uninfected porcine dermal explants exposed to continuous HOCl-generating e-scaffolds for 24 h compared to explants exposed to nonpolarized e-scaffolds (not generating HOCl) (P < 0·05).

Conclusions: Our HOCl-generating e-scaffold is a potential antifungal-free strategy to treat C. albicans biofilms in chronic wounds.

Significance and impact of the study: Wound infections caused by C. albicans are difficult to treat due to presence of biofilms in wound beds. Our HOCl producing e-scaffold provides a promising novel approach to treat wound infections caused by C. albicans.

Keywords: Candida albicans; biofilm; e-scaffold; electrochemical scaffold; hypochlorous acid; wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Electrochemical Techniques*
  • Hypochlorous Acid / pharmacology*
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Swine
  • Wound Infection / microbiology*
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Hypochlorous Acid