Antibacterial, Antibiofilm, and Antiviral Farnesol-Containing Nanoparticles Prevent Staphylococcus aureus from Drug Resistance Development

Aleksandra Ivanova, Kristina Ivanova, Luisa Fiandra, Paride Mantecca, Tiziano Catelani, Michal Natan, Ehud Banin, Gila Jacobi, Tzanko Tzanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Multidrug antimicrobial resistance is a constantly growing health care issue associated with increased mortality and morbidity, and huge financial burden. Bacteria frequently form biofilm communities responsible for numerous persistent infections resistant to conventional antibiotics. Herein, novel nanoparticles (NPs) loaded with the natural bactericide farnesol (FSL NPs) are generated using high-intensity ultrasound. The nanoformulation of farnesol improved its antibacterial properties and demonstrated complete eradication of Staphylococcus aureus within less than 3 h, without inducing resistance development, and was able to 100% inhibit the establishment of a drug-resistant S. aureus biofilm. These antibiotic-free nano-antimicrobials also reduced the mature biofilm at a very low concentration of the active agent. In addition to the outstanding antibacterial properties, the engineered nano-entities demonstrated strong antiviral properties and inhibited the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 by up to 83%. The novel FSL NPs did not cause skin tissue irritation and did not induce the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines in a 3D skin tissue model. These results support the potential of these bio-based nano-actives to replace the existing antibiotics and they may be used for the development of topical pharmaceutic products for controlling microbial skin infections, without inducing resistance development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7527
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the EU and (AEI, CSO MOH, RCN, MUR, GSRT, AKA, NCBR) for funding, in the frame of the collaborative international consortium (AMROCE) financed under the ERA-NET AquaticPollutants Joint Transnational Call (GA No. 869178). This ERA-NET is an integral part of the activities developed by the Water, Oceans and AMR Joint Programming Initiatives. The authors also acknowledge the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness Projects (MINECO) CoatToSave—Nanoenabled hydrogel coatings against antimicrobial-resistant catheter-related infections, PID2019-104111RB-I00.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • bacterial eradication
  • biocompatibility
  • biofilm prevention and elimination
  • farnesol nanoparticles


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