This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will evaluate the feasibility of using engineered bacteriophages to treat bacterial biofilms in industrial infrastructure. Bacteria are a major source of contamination, corrosion, bio-fouling, and energy inefficiency in industrial settings, costing the American public >$22B annually. They persistently colonize industrial infrastructure such as heat exchangers, cooling towers and transmission pipes. When bacteria settle on surfaces, they create a protective slime, called a biofilm. These biofilms are similar to dental plaque and can cause corrosion and poor heat transfer. Biofilms provide shelter for bacteria against conventional biocides, such as bleach and other toxic biocides. Current chemical and mechanical treatments are inadequate for remediating industrial biofilms due to a combination of environmental toxicity, corrosiveness and poor anti-biofilm efficacy. Using synthetic biology, bacteriophages?the natural enemy of bacteria?have been engineered to target bacteria in biofilms and force them to express proteins that degrade biofilms in a highly effective, environmentally friendly manner. This project aims to test the efficacy of these engineered phages, alone or in combination with biocides, against biofilms grown in model industrial systems. The broader/commercial impact of this research is to reduce the use of toxic, corrosive, expensive, and environmentally damaging chemical biocides, improve energy efficiency, and increase infrastructure lifetimes in industrial systems. Products resulting from this project will constitute cutting-edge treatments for biofilm contaminations in industrial settings. This project also represents a major scientific milestone in the practical application of synthetic biology to remediate industrial and environmental problems.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1113071
Program Officer
Gregory T. Baxter
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-07-01
Budget End
2012-06-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$180,000
Indirect Cost
Name
Novophage Therapeutics, Inc.
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Cambridge
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02141