Exopolysaccharide Analysis and EPS Depolymerases as Possible Biofilm Control Strategies
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Bacteria form biofilms by adhering to surfaces and secreting high molecular weight macromolecules. When in the biofilm mode of growth, bacteria possess increased resistance to the action of antimicrobials and the immune system. By gaining an increased understanding of the structure of the biofilm extrapolymeric substance (EPS) and investigating ways to break up the EPS matrix, more effective treatment of biofilm-related infections can be achieved. In this thesis, the isolation and characterization of the polysaccharide portion of the EPS of several bacterial species is reported. The identification of 14 possible biofilm-degrading enzymes is described. One of these enzymes, HexNW, is shown to be highly thermostable and effective as a biofilm treatment.