Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Bactericidal nanoblades: a proof-of-concept approach for bimodal chemo-mechanical eradication of persistent biofilms

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.08.00  Medical sciences  Public health (occupational safety)   

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
biofilm, nanoblade, bactericidal action, wide-spectrum antibacterial
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 17, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  625  16,321  13,977  22.36 
Scopus  626  18,009  15,605  24.93 
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  24257  PhD Aleš Berlec  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021 - 2024  225 
2.  33406  PhD Nikolaja Janež  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  86 
3.  24402  PhD Petra Kocbek  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021 - 2024  303 
4.  29529  PhD Slavko Kralj  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  258 
5.  10372  PhD Darko Makovec  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  669 
6.  23419  PhD Janez Mravljak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021 - 2024  205 
7.  52055  PhD Sebastjan Nemec  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2022  57 
8.  28861  PhD Stane Pajk  Pharmacy  Head  2021 - 2024  196 
9.  36596  PhD Milica Perišić Nanut  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2021 - 2024  147 
10.  55509  Tjaša Peternel    Technical associate  2023 - 2024 
11.  51651  PhD Tina Vida Plavec  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  52 
12.  54701  Žiga Ponikvar  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  16 
13.  57426  PhD Nina Popov  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2023 - 2024 
14.  23576  PhD Jerica Sabotič  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  323 
15.  30816  PhD Izidor Sosič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021 - 2024  260 
16.  15600  MSc Maja Šimaga    Technical associate  2021 - 2024 
17.  55260  PhD Ali Tufani  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2023 - 2024  26 
18.  52419  PhD Abida Zahirović  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2022  37 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0787  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy  Ljubljana  1626973  17,414 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,921 
Biofilms are complex microbial ecosystems formed by bacteria immersed in a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances that are adherent to a surface. Biofilms provide several benefits to the bacteria, such as hydration, resource acquisition, digestive capacity and protection from mechanical damage and antimicrobials. Bacteria are able to form biofilms on a wide variety of different materials, including glass, aluminium, stainless steel, various organic polymers, fluorinated materials, such as Teflon™, and on living tissues. Formation of bacterial biofilms has a negative impact in a number of areas including healthcare, food processing industry, public water supply and ventilation and air handling systems among others. The presence of biofilms puts human health at risk, as approximately 80% of chronic and recurrent microbial infections have been associated with biofilms. Since biofilms are complex communities, their unique characteristics increase the possibility of chemical and physical resistances towards current methods of biofilm eradication. Motivated by current public health challenges with persistent biofilms, we are proposing this innovative project, which will verify new concept for the eradication of persistent bacterial biofilms by combining mechanical disruption with bactericidal action. The new concept is based on the conversion of magnetic energy into the rotational movement of non-spherical magnetic particles (i.e., bactericidal nanoblades) such as magnetic nanoplatelets, nanorods, nanochains, and microrods as they are exposed to rotating magnetic field. The remotely triggered mechanical torque from the anisotropic particles that are attached to the biofilms will be investigated to see whether they can mechanically disrupt and disperse persistent biofilms. Bactericidal component will be provided by release of Ag ions. We hypothesize that the remotely transmitted force will be sufficient to release Ag ions and generate broad-spectrum antimicrobial environment for biomaterials that are in contact with remotely guided nanoblades. In this proposal, we will verify this strategy in different bacterial biofilms including bacteria highly relevant for the healthcare system and for the food industry. The project contains numerous innovative and ambitious methodological approaches, which require interdisciplinary expertise. Therefore, we established international consortium which combines five groups: project leader from University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy (FFA-Chem), two groups from Jožef Stefan Institute (SLO-Nano and SLO-Bio) and two groups from Switzerland (CH-Nano and CH Bio). The groups of CH leader Dr Irena Milosevic (CH-Nano) and Dr Slavko Kralj (SLO-Nano) will join the efforts on nanoparticles and model hydrogels syntheses. Nanoparticles surface modification will be led by SLO project leader Dr Stane Pajk (FFA-Chem). These functionalized nanoparticles will be further investigated by the groups of Dr Jerica Sabotič (SLO-Bio) and Dr Mustapha Mekki (CH-Bio) using microbiological and cell biological approaches. The SLO-Bio and CH-Bio groups will evaluate chemo-mechanical effect of bactericidal nanoblades on biofilms relevant for food industry (SLO-Bio) and healthcare system (CH-Bio). The highly interdisciplinary project with international consortium will be coordinated by Prof. Stane Pajk (SLO part) and Prof. Irena Milosevic (CH part). All partners will ensure efficient dissemination of the project’s results, as well as identification and protection of intellectual property and risk mitigation. The confirmation of our chemo-mechanical approach can have an enormous impact on public health since the new concept might shift paradigm of fighting with biofilms in the food industry and healthcare system.
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