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Bacterial Adhesion Study

Antiadhesive effects of xylitol on otopathogenic bacteria

Tero Kontiokaria, Matti Uharia and Markku Koskela – Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (1998) 41, 563–565


In a 1998 study, researchers decided to test how xylitol affected the bacterium Streptococcus Pneumoniae. Previous studies found that xylitol inhibited oral bacteria from adhering to tissue. In this study, researchers, “hypothesized that xylitol may also affect the adhesion of [other bacteria], and [they] tested this hypothesis in vitro.”


On average, s. pneumoniae had a stable adhesion of 41 bacteria per cell. When the cell and bacteria were exposed to xylitol, adherence reduced to 13 bacteria per cell, a decrease of over 68%.

Why is this important?

In order to thrive and grow, bacteria stick to cells and go through a process called quorum sensing where they come together to create a colony. If an agent, like xylitol, can inhibit bacteria from sticking to cells, then the bacteria cannot thrive and will be washed out of the body.

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