Discovery of (meth)acrylate polymers that resist colonization by fungi associated with pathogenesis and biodeterioration
journal contributionposted on 06.01.2021, 06:39 by Morgan Alexander, C Vallieres, Andrew Hook, Y He, VC Crucitti, Grazziela Figueredo, Laurence Burroughs, David Winkler, Ricky Wildman, DJ Irvine, Simon Avery
© 2020 The Authors. Fungi have major, negative socioeconomic impacts, but control with bioactive agents is increasingly restricted, while resistance is growing. Here, we describe an alternative fungal control strategy via materials operating passively (i.e., no killing effect). We screened hundreds of (meth)acrylate polymers in high throughput, identifying several that reduce attachment of the human pathogen Candida albicans, the crop pathogen Botrytis cinerea, and other fungi. Specific polymer functional groups were associated with weak attachment. Low fungal colonization materials were not toxic, supporting their passive, anti-attachment utility. We developed a candidate monomer formulation for inkjet-based 3D printing. Printed voice prosthesis components showed up to 100% reduction in C. albicans biofilm versus commercial materials. Furthermore, spray-coated leaf surfaces resisted fungal infection, with no plant toxicity. This is the first high-throughput study of polymer chemistries resisting fungal attachment. These materials are ready for incorporation in products to counteract fungal deterioration of goods, food security, and health.