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Research Spotlight

The book “Antimicrobial Surfaces: Eds. Ivanova and Crawford” was recently published by Springer.

This contains a chapter written by Professor Willcox along with Dr Ren Chen and colleagues from the School of Chemistry, UNSW Australia. This book deals with the common problem of microbial adhesion to surfaces. Microbes like to adhere to surfaces, and indeed it has been argued that this is their preferred mode of growth. Once adhered to a surface, the microbes, especially bacteria, form structures called biofilms. Within biofilms microbes re protected from the action of antimicrobials (including antibiotics and disinfectants) and the action of the host defense system (such as antibodies and white blood cells). The book covers various aspects of microbial adhesion to surfaces, especially new ways of controlling the adhesion.

Professor Willcox’s chapter focuses on one type of antimicrobial, called furanones or dihydropyrrolones. These compounds are synthetic analogues of substances produced by marine algae to control microbial contamination of their surfaces.