Biofilms - micro-organisms layers 

Dec 2nd, 2019, by Labtoo's team

Biofilm? In Greek language "bio" for life and in English "film" for layer. A layer of life? Let us explain!


Micro-organisms and still micro-organisms

The first microbiological observations go back to the 17th century thanks to Antone Van Leeuwenhoek, who, with a microscope of his design, brought up the presence of microscopic organisms at the surface of teeth.

It is on this conclusion that William Costerton suggested the biofilm theory in the 80s.

His work highlighted that most of the microbial biomass was attached on surfaces and was composed of heterogeneous populations inside an extracellular matrix rich in water, sugars, and proteins.


Alarming or not?

Biofilms are found in every ecological niche and colonize diverse surfaces, such as soils, sediments, and minerals... Most of the time harmless, biofilms play a major ecological role on the planet scale. They contribute to the good functioning of most ecosystems by degrading organic matter, and recycling nitrogen, sulfur, and other metals.

Nonetheless, their expansion leads to negative effects on industrial procedures as well as in human medicine. Indeed, most nosocomial infections involve biofilms that can form on catheters or implants and attack body tissues.

A biofilm protects bacteria, it allows them to survive in hostile conditions. Thus, bacteria better resist the immune response of the host and are much more resistant to antibacterial lotion or antibiotics than planktonic bacteria.


Eradication is on

Classic experimental approaches to studying micro-organisms are not adapted for the study of biofilms, therefore, researchers have developed experimental models associating microscopic and molecular analysis, which allowed the identification of the molecular factors involved in the lives of biofilms.

More recently, researchers of the McGill health University Centre Research Institute designed a technology preventing the formation of biofilms thanks to enzymes, a first step towards eradication...

Do you need to test your products on biofilms?