Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 69–76 | Cite as

The effect of ultrasonic frequency upon enhanced killing ofP. aeruginosa biofilms

  • Zhen Qian
  • Richard D. Sagers
  • William G. Pitt
Research Articles


It is widely recognized that the bacteria sequestered in a biofilm on a medical implant are much more resistant to antibiotics than their planktonic counterparts. Recent studies have shown that application of antibiotic along with low power ultrasound significantly increases the killing of planktonic bacteria by the antibiotic. Herein is reported a similar application of antibiotic and ultrasound to sessile bacteria in biofilms ofPseudomonas aeruginosa on a polyethylene substrate. Biofilm viability was measured after exposure to 12 μg/ml gentamicin sulfate and 10 mW/cm2 ultrasound at frequencies of 70 kHz, 500 kHz, 2.25 MHz, and 10 MHz. The results indicate that a significantly greater fraction of the bacteria was killed by gentamicin when they were subjected to ultrasound. However, ultrasound by itself did not have any deleterious effect on the biofilm viability. In addition, lower-frequency insonation is significantly more effective than higher frequency in reducing bacterial viability within the biofilm. The possible mechanisms of synergistic action are discussed.


Ultrasound Antibiotic Bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa Gentamicin 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen Qian
    • 1
  • Richard D. Sagers
    • 2
  • William G. Pitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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