Management of oral biofilms by nisin delivery in adhesive microdevices

Stine Egebro Birk*, Mette Dalskov Mosgaard, Rolf Bech Kjeldsen, Anja Boisen, Rikke Louise Meyer, Line Hagner Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Numerous beneficial microbes thrive in the oral cavity where they form biofilms on dental and mucosal surfaces to get access to nutrients, and to avoid being carried away with the saliva. However, biofilm formation is also a virulence factor as it also protects pathogenic bacteria, providing them with an environment for proliferation causing oral infections. Oral hygiene relies on mechanical removal of biofilms. Some oral care products also contain antimicrobials, but effective eradication of biofilms with antimicrobials requires both a high concentration and long exposure time. In the present communication, we investigate the potential of using miniaturized drug delivery devices, known as microcontainers (MCs), to deliver the antimicrobial peptide, nisin to an oral multi-species biofilm. MCs are loaded with nisin and X-ray micro-computed tomography reveals a full release of nisin through a chitosan lid within 15 min. Chitosan-coated MCs display substantial bioadhesion to the buccal mucosa compared to non-coated MCs (68.6 ± 14.3% vs 33.8 ± 5.2%). Confocal monitoring of multi-species biofilms reveals antibacterial effects of nisin-loaded chitosan-coated MCs with a faster onset (after 3 h) compared to solution-based delivery (after 9 h). Our study shows the potential of using MCs for treatment of multi-species oral biofilms and is encouraging for further design of drug delivery devices to treat oral diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Pages (from-to)83-88
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF122), Denmark and Villum Fonden (Grant No. 9301), Denmark for Intelligent Drug Delivery and Sensing Using Microcontainers and Nanomechanics (IDUN).


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Bioadhesion
  • Chitosan
  • Microcontainers
  • Multi-species biofilm
  • Oromucosal drug delivery
  • µCT


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