Microbiologists have discovered a new way to prevent biofilm from growing on medical devices such as hip replacements or heart valves implanted in the human body, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study shows that it is possible to prevent communities of staphylococci from forming by targeting the linkages that hold the bacteria together.

Researchers found that it is possible to stop bacteria from attaching to surfaces and to each other using a small blocking molecule. The target of the molecule was a protein attached to the surface of the bacteria called SdrC.

In laboratory experiments the blocking molecule prevented the SdrC protein from recognising other bacteria and stopped the staphylococci from growing as biofilm communities.

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