Electrical methods of controlling bacterial adhesion and biofilm on device surfaces

David Freebairn, David Linton, Eileen Harkin-Jones, David S. Jones, Brendan F. Gilmore, Sean P. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This review will summarize the significant body of research within the field of electrical methods of controlling the growth of microorganisms. We examine the progress from early work using current to kill bacteria in static fluids to more realistic treatment scenarios such as flow-through systems designed to imitate the human urinary tract. Additionally, the electrical enhancement of biocide and antibiotic efficacy will be examined alongside recent innovations including the biological applications of acoustic energy systems to prevent bacterial surface adherence. Particular attention will be paid to the electrical engineering aspects of previous work, such as electrode composition, quantitative electrical parameters and the conductive medium used. Scrutiny of published systems from an electrical engineering perspective will help to facilitate improved understanding of the methods, devices and mechanisms that have been effective in controlling bacteria, as well as providing insights and strategies to improve the performance of such systems and develop the next generation of antimicrobial bioelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-103
Number of pages19
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Jan 2014


  • bioelectric effect
  • biofilm
  • conducting polymer
  • electricidal effect
  • electrophoresis
  • indwelling medical device
  • iontophoresis
  • surface attachment


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