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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Mar;53(3):1204-9. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00471-08. Epub 2008 Dec 8.

Effect of DNase and antibiotics on biofilm characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, St Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University, St Petersburg, Russia.


The role of extracellular DNA in the maintenance of biofilms formed by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria was studied. This study evaluated all the bacterial strains that were tested for the presence of extracellular DNA with an average size of 30 kb in the matrix. Our results indicate changes in community biomass, architecture, morphology, and the numbers of CFU in the presence of DNase. This effect seems to be common to biofilms established by various unrelated gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The cleavage of extracellular DNA leads to the formation of an altered biofilm that permits the increased penetration of antibiotics. Thus, the addition of DNase enhances the effect of antibiotics, resulting in decreased biofilm biomass and numbers of CFU.

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