Efficient Prevention of Marine Biofilm Formation Employing a Surface-Grafted Repellent Marine Peptide

Moshe Herzberg, Mattias Berglin, Sarai Eliahu, Lovisa Bodin, Karin Agrenius, Amir Zlotkin, Johan Svenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Creation of surfaces resistant to the formation of microbial biofilms via biomimicry has been heralded as a promising strategy to protect a range of different materials ranging from boat hulls to medical devices and surgical instruments. In our current study, we describe the successful transfer of a highly effective natural marine biofilm inhibitor to the 2D surface format. A series of cyclic peptides inspired by the natural equinatoxin II protein produced by Beadlet anemone (Actinia equine) have been evaluated for their ability to inhibit the formation of a mixed marine microbial consortium on polyamide reverse osmosis membranes. In solution, the peptides are shown to effectively inhibit settlement and biofilm formation in a nontoxic manner down to 1 nM concentrations. In addition, our study also illustrates how the peptides can be applied to disperse already established biofilms. Attachment of a hydrophobic palmitic acid tail generates a peptide suited for strong noncovalent surface interactions and allows the generation of stable noncovalent coatings. These adsorbed peptides remain attached to the surface at significant shear stress and also remain active, effectively preventing the biofilm formation over 24 h. Finally, the covalent attachment of the peptides to an acrylate surface was also evaluated and the prepared coatings display a remarkable ability to prevent surface colonization at surface loadings of 55 ng/cm2 over 48 h. The ability to retain the nontoxic antibiofilm activity, documented in solution, in the covalent 2D-format is unprecedented, and this natural peptide motif displays high potential in several material application areas.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3360-3373
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2021


  • antifouling
  • marine biofilm
  • nontoxic
  • peptide
  • reverse osmosis
  • surface grafting

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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