Although different strategies to control biofilm formation on endotracheal tubes have been proposed, there are scarce scientific data on applying phages for both removing and preventing Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms on the device surface. Here, the anti-biofilm capacity of five bacteriophages was evaluated by a high content screening assay. We observed that biofilms were significantly reduced after phage treatment, especially in multidrug-resistant strains. Considering the anti-biofilm screens, two phages were selected as cocktail components, and the cocktail's ability to prevent colonization of the endotracheal tube surface was tested in a dynamic biofilm model. Phage-coated tubes were challenged with different P. aeruginosa strains. The biofilm growth was monitored from 24 to 168 h by colony forming unit counting, metabolic activity assessment, and biofilm morphology observation. The phage cocktail promoted differences of bacterial colonization; nonetheless, the action was strain dependent. Phage cocktail coating did not promote substantial changes in metabolic activity. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a higher concentration of biofilm cells in control, while tower-like structures could be observed on phage cocktail-coated tubes. These results demonstrate that with the development of new coating strategies, phage therapy has potential in controlling the endotracheal tube-associated biofilm.
Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; bacteriophage; biofilm; endotracheal tube.