Biofilm formation on biotic or abiotic surfaces has unwanted consequences in medical, clinical, and industrial settings. Treatments with antibiotics or biocides are often ineffective in eradicating biofilms. Promising alternatives to conventional agents are biofilm-inhibiting compounds regulating biofilm development without toxicity to growth. Here, we screened a biofilm inhibitor, raffinose, derived from ginger. Raffinose, a galactotrisaccharide, showed efficient biofilm inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa without impairing its growth. Raffinose also affected various phenotypes such as colony morphology, matrix formation, and swarming motility. Binding of raffinose to a carbohydrate-binding protein called LecA was the cause of biofilm inhibition and altered phenotypes. Furthermore, raffinose reduced the concentration of the second messenger, cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP), by increased activity of a c-di-GMP specific phosphodiesterase. The ability of raffinose to inhibit P. aeruginosa biofilm formation and its molecular mechanism opens new possibilities for pharmacological and industrial applications.
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