Stewart says laboratory tests of bacteria growth showed dramatic results when chitosan was used. "When we do this on a surface that doesn't have chitosan we get about a million bacteria per square centimeter on that coating after two days of challenge. When we put the chitosan coating on and put it into the system and let it run for two days, we end up with around 10,000 times less bacteria on that surface."
Stewart says scientists were unable to detect any viable organism in five of the nine experiments using chitosan. He says, despite such results, it is unlikely that any single technology could defeat biofilms, but suggests that chitosan is a likely platform from which to launch further experimentation.
"We can load a conventional antibiotic [to the chitosan], or one of these agents that block the communication between bacteria that seem to be important in virulence and biofilm formation. So I think that combined strategies may be what really ends up working in the clinical setting."Steward presented his work in San Francisco at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.