The administration of l-cysteine and l-arginine inhibits biofilm formation in wild-type biofilm-forming yeast by modulating FLO11 gene expression

  • Giacomo ZaraEmail author
  • Marc Bou Zeidan
  • Francesco Fancello
  • Maria Lina Sanna
  • Ilaria Mannazzu
  • Marilena Budroni
  • Severino ZaraEmail author
Original Article


Microbial biofilms are undesired in food manufacturing, drinking water distribution systems, and clinical realms. Yeast biofilms are particularly problematic because of the strong capacity of yeast cells to adhere to abiotic surfaces, cells, and tissues. Novel approaches have been developed over recent years to prevent the establishment of microbial biofilms, such as through the use of small molecules with inhibiting and dispersing properties. Here, we studied the inhibitory activity of 11 different amino acids on the biofilm formation ability of three wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains and the reference strain 1278b. Subsequent evaluation of different concentrations of the two most effective amino acids, namely, arginine and cysteine, revealed that they acted in different ways. Arginine prevented biofilm formation by reducing FLO11 gene expression; its addition did not affect cell viability and was even found to enhance cell metabolism (vitality marker) as determined by phenotype microarray (PM) analysis. On the contrary, the addition of cysteine reduced both cell viability and vitality as well as FLO11 expression. Thus, the use of cysteine and arginine as agents against biofilm formation can be diversified depending on the most desired action towards yeast growth.


Flor yeast Adhesion to plastic Phenotype microarray Real-time PCR FLO11 



The authors would like to thank the “Centro Servizi di Ateneo per la Ricerca (CeSAR)” of the University of Sassari, for the utilization of the Phenotype Microarray© platform.

Funding information

G.Z. recieved financial support from the Sardinia Regional Government through research grant (Regional Operational Program of the European Social Fund (ROP ESF) 2014-2020—Priority axis 3 “Education and training”; Thematic objective: 10; Investment Priority: 10ii; Specific Objective: 10.5; Action of the Partnership Agreement: 10.5.12-C.U.P. J86C18000270002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9996_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (457 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 457 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Agri-Food SciencesHoly Spirit University of KaslikJouniehLebanon

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