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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

NAMRIP researchers identify new treatment for bacterial biofilm infections

Published: 29 August 2017
NAMRIP Members

NAMRIP researchers have published their results investigating the effect of D-methionine on non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) biofilm formation and antimicrobial tolerance.

NTHi is an opportunistic respiratory pathogen that plays an important role in otitis media (glue ear), cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Otitis media is the primary reason for antibiotic prescription in children. The persistence of NTHi in the human airway is associated with biofilm formation, where individual bacteria form aggregates and produce a substance that makes antibiotic treatment less effective.

Image of biofilms before and after treatment
Biofilms before and after treatment

The team discovered that treating these bacteria with the amino acid D-methionine affected how these bacteria grow and form biofilms. They also found that this treatment made the bacteria living within the biofilms more sensitive to antibiotic treatment.

The image (on the right) shows NTHi biofilms before and after treatment with D-methionine using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).


This paper was published in the journal ‘Microbiology’ with the citation Dawe et al. (2017). D-methionine interferes with non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae peptidoglycan synthesis during growth and biofilm formation. Microbiology. PMID: 28699879.

It is also available on eprints.

This research was funded by NAMRIP’s EPSRC grant NAMRA (EP/M027260/1), part of the EPSRC, Network for Antimicrobial Action, ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme. The Pump Priming Project was led by Dr Ray Allan.

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