International journal of hyperthermia : the official journal of European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, North American Hyperthermia Group

Eradicating group A streptococcus bacteria and biofilms using functionalised multi-wall carbon nanotubes.

PMID 25354678


The aim of this study was to demonstrate that multi-wall carbon nanotubes can be functionalised with antibodies to group A streptoccocus (GAS) for targeted photothermal ablation of planktonic and biofilm residing bacteria. Antibodies for GAS were covalently attached to carboxylated multi-wall carbon nanotubes and incubated with either planktonic or biofilm GAS. Bacterium was then exposed to 1.3 W/cm(2) of 800 nm light for 10-120 s, and then serially diluted onto agar plates from which the number of colony forming units was determined. Photothermal ablation of GAS on the surface of full thickness ex vivo porcine skin and histological sectioning were done to examine damage in adjacent tissue. Approximately 14% of the GAS antibody-functionalised nanotubes attached to the bacterium, and this amount was found to be capable of inducing photothermal ablation of GAS upon exposure to 1.3 W/cm(2) of 800 nm light. Cell viability was not decreased upon exposure to nanotubes or infrared light alone. Compared to carboxylated multi-wall carbon nanotubes, antibody-labelled nanotubes enhanced killing in both planktonic and biofilm GAS in conjunction with infrared light. Analysis of GAS photothermally ablated in direct contact with ex vivo porcine skin shows that heat sufficient for killing GAS remains localised and does not cause collateral damage in tissue adjacent to the treated area. The results of this study support the premise that carbon nanotubes may be effectively utilised as highly localised photothermal agents with the potential for translation into the clinical treatment of bacterial infections of soft tissue.