What are Biofilms?

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What are Biofilms?

A biofilm is a complex aggregation of microorganisms growing on a solid substrate. Biofilms are characterized by structural heterogeneity and are found on solid supports in sewage treatment plants, where they play an essential role in processing of sewage water before it is discharged into rivers.

Formation of a biofilm begins with the attachment of free-floating microorganisms to a surface. These first colonists adhere to the surface initially through weak, reversible van der Waals forces. If the colonists are not immediately separated from the surface, they can anchor themselves more permanently using cell adhesion molecules such as pili.

They attach to diverse substrates such as soil particles, pipes, and contact lenses. Biofilms perform beneficial activities such as water purification and nutrient cycling, but they also cause problems. For example, they can foul plumbing systems and cause stubborn infections.

There are many different experiments involving biofilm culture depending on what organisms you wish to culture. Standard procedures involve preparing the your slides, staining them, incubation, isolation and de-staining. You may need to immerse you slides in a solution during the process, use microarray holders to hold your slides securely in place.

Biofilm growth under some of these test conditions can be quantified by culturing the biofilms in 50 mm plates or microtitre plates.

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