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Detachment and other dynamic processes in bacterial biofilms

By Paul Stoodley, Suzanne Wilson, Ryan Cargo, Chayne Piscitteli and Cory J. Rupp


Biofilms (populations of microorganisms) accumulate on virtually all wetted industrial and environmental surfaces. Biofilm microorganisms commonly produce an extracellular polymeric slime (EPS) matrix that appears to play both protective (i.e. increasing antimicrobial resistance and resisting desiccation) and mechanical (attachment of the biofilm to the surface and maintenance of mechanical stability) roles. Biofilms are a well known concern in many types of industrial systems where they are responsible for such problems as the fouling of surfaces, product contamination and corrosion. Moreover, the formation of biofilm on domestic and industrial surfaces is also a significant problem in public health. Detachment from biofilms in food production facilities and drinking water systems may result in the potential transmission of pathogens via contaminated food1, drinking water2 or aerosols3. Microbial contamination of an industrial system is putatively identified as a biofilm problem if the contamination is, 1) chronic, and 2) difficult to control through conventional heat, mechanical, or chemical treatment procedures. These same criteria are increasingly being used in the medical field to implicate biofilm formation in many types of chronic infections of indwelling prosthetic devices and on host tissue4. In a medical context biofilm formation itself may be considered a significant virulence factor that enables the infection to persist or spread in the host.<br/>Although the initial events of biofilm formation, from the attachment of planktonic cells to the formation of complex biofilm structures, are reasonably well understood very little is known about the behavior of mature biofilms. Mature biofilm behavior includes biofilm detachment and the movement of biofilms over solid surfaces. Both are potentially important mechanisms in the dissemination or transfer of contamination and infection. It is the goal of this work to relate the material properties of biofilms to various dynamic biofilm behaviors, including shear-induced detachment through adhesive and cohesive failure, spontaneous detachment, and shear induced biofilm flow over solid surfaces

Topics: QR
Publisher: Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation
Year: 2001
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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  2. (2001). Reprinted with permission ©

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