The Good And The Bad In Biofilm
It’s simple to see why bacteria on surfaces need to be disinfected but have you ever questioned how germs get onto surfaces in the first place? Enter BIOFILM.
Scientists have learned more about these dense colonies of bacteria that generate an extracellular substance that connects a community of various microorganisms together and attaches them to both living and inanimate surfaces in recent years.
Biofilms may form in almost any environment or surface, and they can be either detrimental or helpful to people. Biofilms exist in the mouth and intestines of humans, and they may either protect or impair our health.
A typical example of a biofilm that develops on tooth surfaces is dental plaque. Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by the bacteria’s metabolic products in plaque.
Biofilms can house human pathogenic pathogens in the environment, but they can also help with groundwater and soil cleanup. They help in metal mining and play a key part in the natural recycling of materials on Earth. As a result, it’s crucial to understand the “good and bad” features of biofilms under various circumstances.
BIOFILMS: WHERE YOU DON’T WANT THEM
Biofilm development is a serious problem in nearly all healthcare and food-preparation environments. Biofilms can form on medical implants, allowing infections to thrive and even facilitating human deaths since these hardy microbial colonies are resistant to drugs and immune system attacks.
Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella can thrive in biofilms on food-contact surfaces in restaurant, institutional, and residential kitchens. Thus, disinfecting and cleaning critical surfaces to prevent or eliminate biofilms aids in the prevention of institutional infections and foodborne diseases.
Most water distribution systems ultimately acquire biofilms from their interiors. The microbial growth, known as “biofouling,” is a contaminant that poses a risk to public health. Biofilms, as previously stated, can host human diseases that are difficult to eradicate.
The most common approach for controlling biofilm formation is to chlorinate the water supply. When biofilm creates water quality issues, super chlorination, which temporarily raises chlorine levels, can be coupled with mechanical flushing and scouring.
Although biofilms are a continual battle for water treatment operators, these bacterial populations may also be used to improve water quality. Biofilms are helpful in sand filters, for example. Bacteria that feed on organic material in the water adhere to the grains when raw water trickles past them, forming biofilm colonies.
The biofilms are fed by the continual supply of nutrients, which clears the water of unwanted organic debris. Water that has been biofilm treated uses less disinfectant and produces fewer disinfection byproducts.
Scientists will continue to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of biofilms, including how these micro-communities thrive, interact, and die, in order to promote positive purposes while minimizing negative consequences. Keep an eye out for the next interesting, exacerbating, and illuminating biofilm developments.