Research in Focus: Labelling the Extracellular Matrix
As part of #BiofilmWeek, we’re highlighting interesting and exciting biofilm research from across our network and partner research institutions.
We interviewed Dr Susanne Löffler and Smilla Huzell from Ebba Biotech, who provide fluorescent tracer molecules that allow easy and safe labelling and tracking of biomacromolecules that had previously been difficult to pin down before.
Tell us about your technology and objectives
Our EbbaBiolight products label protein aggregates and polysaccharides in the bacterial extracellular matrix (ECM). They are an excellent tool to analyse the ECM component separately from the cellular component of the bacterial biofilm. Our vision is to provide an optimal toolbox for researchers to be able to demonstrate the importance of the ECM component of biofilms in relation to persistent and recurrent infections. Through that, ultimately, we want to raise global awareness of the importance of biofilms in antimicrobial resistance. Our EbbaBiolight product family is predominantly focused in biotechnological research and has applications in all aspects of infection and microbiology.
EbbaBiolight 680 labels curli (red) in the extracellular matrix of GFP-expressing Salmonella bacteria (green). The image shows a Salmonella colony grown on agar infused with EbbaBiolight 680.
How does your work relate to biofilms and AMR?
As EbbaBiolight labels the extracellular matrix component of biofilms in live cultures, it can be used to investigate the AMR of bacteria that are organised in biofilms, dependent on the amount and density of their ECM.
What current unmet need does your technology address?
EbbaBiolight labels ECM in live cultures. This is opening avenues of live visual tracking of biofilm that are otherwise unavailable due to the toxicity of traditional methods.
What wider impact could Ebba Biotech have?
Since our technique is so incredibly safe and simple, we aim to raise public awareness of biofilms, redefining the assumption that anything can be defined as sterile as long as no CFUs can be detected in a culture.
Have you undertaken any public engagement and outreach activities? If so, please share a highlight with us.
Our outreach is primarily focused on promoting and highlighting the biofilm research that our customers are doing via our website, social media and outreach channels.
Tell us about Ebba Biotech’s relationship with NBIC.
Our founder, Professor Agneta Richter Dahlfors – is part of the scientific advisory board for NBIC. Her research group at AIMES, Karolinska Institute has pioneered the optotracing technology that we have since commercialised. We believe NBIC is doing amazing work in promoting the importance of biofilms and try to promote NBICs activities whenever possible.
Are you looking for any collaborators?
We want to hear from you – the researchers! We want to know more about your research and see if EbbaBiolight can help enhance your biofilm and AMR research.
Smilla Huzell – Chief Operating Officer at Ebba Biotech.
Dr Susanne Löffler – Chief Technology Officer at Ebba Biotech.