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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2015, Article ID 989516, 9 pages
Research Article

Effect of Alginate Lyase on Biofilm-Grown Helicobacter pylori Probed by Atomic Force Microscopy

1Istituto di Fisica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy
2Istituto di Microbiologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy

Received 8 January 2015; Revised 26 March 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Miriam Rafailovich

Copyright © 2015 Alessandro Maiorana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a microorganism with a pronounced capability of adaptation under environmental stress solicitations. Its persistence and antimicrobial resistance to the drugs commonly used in the anti-H. pylori therapy are associated with the development of a biofilm mainly composed of DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides. A fundamental step to increase the success of clinical treatments is the development of new strategies and molecules able to interfere with the biofilm architecture and thus able to enhance the effects of antibiotics. By using Atomic Force Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy we analyzed the effects of the alginate lyase (AlgL), an enzyme able to degrade a wide class of polysaccharides, on the H. pylori shape, surface morphology, and biofilm adhesion properties. We demonstrated that AlgL generates a noticeable loss of H. pylori coccoid form in favor of the bacillary form and reduces the H. pylori extracellular polymeric substances (EPS).