Raffinose Inhibits Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Formation by Targeting Glucosyltransferase

So Young Ham, Han Shin Kim, Eunji Cha, Taehyeung Lim, Youngjoo Byun, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Streptococcus mutans is a representative biofilm-forming bacterium that causes dental caries through glucosyltransferase (GTF) activity. Glucans are synthesized from sucrose by GTFs and provide binding sites for S. mutans to adhere tightly to the tooth enamel. Therefore, if a novel compound that interferes with GTF function is developed, biofilm formation control in S. mutans would be possible. We discovered that raffinose, an oligosaccharide from natural products, strongly inhibited biofilm formation, GTF-related gene expression, and glucan production. Furthermore, biofilm inhibition on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite discs through the reduction of bacterial adhesion indicated the applicability of raffinose in oral health. These effects of raffinose appear to be due to its ability to modulate GTF activity in S. mutans. Hence, raffinose may be considered an antibiofilm agent for use as a substance for oral supplies and dental materials to prevent dental caries. IMPORTANCE Dental caries is the most prevalent infectious disease and is expensive to manage. Dental biofilms can be eliminated via mechanical treatment or inhibited using antibiotics. However, bacteria that are not entirely removed or are resistant to antibiotics can still form biofilms. In this study, we found that raffinose inhibited biofilm formation by S. mutans, a causative agent of dental caries, possibly through binding to GtfC. Our findings support the notion that biofilm inhibition by raffinose can be exerted by interference with GTF function, compensating for the shortcomings of existing commercialized antibiofilm methods. Furthermore, raffinose is an ingredient derived from natural products and can be safely utilized in humans; it has no smell and tastes sweet. Therefore, raffinose, which can control S. mutans biofilm formation, has been suggested as a substance for oral supplies and dental materials to prevent dental caries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant 2020R1A6A1A03045059 to H-D.P. and grant 2019R1A6A1A03031807 to Y.B).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Ham et al.


  • Streptococcus mutans
  • biofilm
  • glucosyltransferase
  • raffinose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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