Nanocrystalline Cellulose Hydrogel for Prevention of Bacterial Adhesion


University of Alberta researchers have developed a hydrogel formulation by using a nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) polymer that has potential to prevent biofilm formation via physical resistance mechanism.  Given that 80% of microbial infections in the body are caused by biofilms, preventing biofilm-formation via medical devices provides an effective strategy for prevention of bacterial infection.

The formulation has been validated by coating urinary catheters.  Data has shown that the formulation is 99% effective at reducing initial bacterial adhesion (by depletion of colonization-induced bacterial flocculation) and subsequent biofilm formation on various surfaces. Urinary catheters are placed on 15-25% of hospitalized patients and result in more than 560,000 catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in the US. Annual estimated CAUTI costs are as high as $1.8 billion.

It is anticipated that the hydrogel can be incorporated into current coating methods requiring very little changes in application procedures during manufacturing of catheters or other such devices or equipment.


  • NCC is an investigative product that is likely to be non-toxic and bio-compatible.
  • There is no risk of increasing antibiotic resistance with the use of NCC as NCC is not an antibiotic.

Potential Markets

Potential applications of this technology include:

  • coating of catheters for prevention of urinary tract infection
  • collaborative development of new coatings to prevent biofilm formation

Protection Status

US Patent 9,744,270

Product Number


Contact Information

Megha Bajaj
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-7739