Imaging Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Extracellular Polymer Scaffolds with Amphiphilic Carbon Dots Academic Article uri icon


  • Biofilm formation is a critical facet of pathogenesis and resilience of human, animal, and plant bacteria. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) constitute the physical scaffolding for bacterial biofilms and thus play central roles in their development and virulence. We show that newly-synthesized amphiphilic fluorescent carbon dots (C-dots) readily bind to the EPS scaffold of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major biofilm-forming pathogen, resulting in un-precedented microscopic visualization of the EPS structural features. Fluorescence microscopy analysis utilizing the C-dots reveal that the P. aeruginosa EPS matrix exhibits a remarkable dendritic morphology. The experiments further illuminate the growth kinetics of the EPS and the effect of external factors such as temperature. We also show that the amphiphilic C-dot platform enabled screening of substances disrupting biofilm development, specifically quorum sens-ing inhibitors.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016