On-demand release of <i>Candida albicans</i> biofilms from urinary catheters by mechanical surface deformation

<p><i>Candida albicans</i> is a leading cause of catheter-associated urinary tract infections and elimination of these biofilm-based infections without antifungal agents would constitute a significant medical advance. A novel urinary catheter prototype that utilizes on-demand surface deformation is effective at eliminating bacterial biofilms and here the broader applicability of this prototype to remove fungal biofilms has been demonstrated. <i>C. albicans</i> biofilms were debonded from prototypes by selectively inflating four additional intralumens surrounding the main lumen of the catheters to provide the necessary surface strain to remove the adhered biofilm. Deformable catheters eliminated significantly more biofilm than the controls (>90% eliminated <i>vs</i> 10% control; <i>p</i> < 0.001). Mechanical testing revealed that fungal biofilms have an elastic modulus of 45 ± 6.7 kPa with a fracture energy of 0.4–2 J m<sup>−2</sup>. This study underscores the potential of mechanical disruption as a materials design strategy to combat fungal device-associated infections.</p>