Photodynamic action of merocyanine 540 on Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms

M. S. Sbarra, A. Di Poto, C. R. Arciola, E. Saino, M. Sharma, F. Bragheri, L. Cristiani, P. Speziale, Livia Visai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photodynamic treatment (PDT) has been proposed as a new approach for inactivation of biofilms associated with medical devices that are resistant to chemical additives or biocides. In this study, we evaluated the antimicrobial activity of merocyanine 540 (MC 540), a photosensitizing dye that is used for purging malignant cells from autologous bone marrow grafts, against Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. Effect of the combined photodynamic action of MC 540 and 532 nm laser was investigated on the viability and structure of biofilms of two Staphylococcus epidermidis strains, RP62A and 1457. Significant inactivation of cells was observed when biofilms were exposed to MC 540 and laser simultaneously. The effect was found to be light dose-dependent but S. epidermidis 1457 biofilm proved to be slightly more susceptible than S. epidermidis RP62A biofilm. Furthermore, significant killing of both types of cells was attained even when a fixed light dose was delivered to the biofilms. Confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) analysis indicated damage to bacterial cell membranes in photodynamically treated biofilms, while disruption of PDT-treated biofilm was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-857
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Merocyanine 540 (MC 540)
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • S. epidermidis biofilms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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