The Good And The Bad In Biofilm

The Good And The Bad In Biofilm

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.

What Are Biofilms and Why Are They Harmful?

What Are Biofilms and Why Are They Harmful?

What Are Biofilms and Why Are They Harmful?

Bacteria are microscopic organisms that tend to stick on almost every surface. Well, most bacteria are harmless but there are some that are harmful once they get into the human body. 

Antibiotics can treat the majority of bacterial illnesses, but not illnesses caused by biofilms. 


WHAT IS BIOFILM?

Biofilms have existed for a very long time. According to a 2004 paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology, fossil evidence of biofilms goes back to around 3.25 billion years ago.

Biofilms are a microbial community made up of one or more microorganisms that may develop on a variety of surfaces. Bacteria, fungus, and protists are examples of microorganisms that produce biofilms.

Biofilms are formed when bacterial cells gather and build structures that bind them together in a gooey substance. This gooey substance shields cells from the environment and enables them to form complex quasi-organisms. Biofilms may be found nearly anywhere, including unclean shower cubicles and lake surfaces.


WHY ARE BIOFILMS HARMFUL?

Biofilms are particularly harmful when they infiltrate human cells or develop on sutures and catheters used in operations. It is because the protective shell can keep these effective therapies out. Thousands of deaths have been linked to biofilm-related surgical site infections and urinary tract infections in American hospitals alone.

Fighting biofilms has proven particularly challenging due to a lack of understanding of how bacteria cells shift from acting independently to forming collective structures. 

However, researchers in the Levchenko lab have discovered a fundamental mechanism for biofilm development. This also gives a means to investigate this process in a controlled and repeatable manner. This research was in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California-San Diego.

Biofilms accounted for “almost 80% of microbial illnesses in the body,” according to a 2002 call for grant proposals from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to a 2004 study in Nature Reviews Microbiology, bacterial biofilms have been reported to induce infective endocarditis and pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients, among other diseases.


WHAT THERAPEUTIC STRATEGIES ARE AVAILABLE TO FIGHT BIOFILMS?

First and foremost, prevention is better than cure! We can try to avoid the formation of biofilms. This is an excellent method for preventing biofilms from developing on implanted materials. 

We can cover the implant’s surface with chemicals that prevent germs from adhering to it. This look can be achieved, for example, using silver coating. We can also inject large quantities of antibiotics into the implanted gadget. They are therefore prepared to combat germs before going to sleep.

We can also use a strong antibiotic solution to clean a catheter. The majority of these methods are currently in use in clinics. Alternately, we can disrupt the bacteria’s communication mechanism. It’s known as quorum sensing.

It is made up of chemicals generated by bacteria and is detected by their neighbors as if they were inhaling a sweet aroma. Bacteria can’t locate each other without quorum sensing, therefore they can’t start forming the biofilm.

Second, we have the option of attempting to destroy the matrix. This should make it easier for the antibiotic to reach the bacteria that are hiding. This can be accomplished using enzymes, which are proteins capable of converting one molecule into another, such as in degradation products. The chemicals in the matrix will be chopped into little bits by them.

The majority of these innovative methods are still in the works. It takes a lot of effort to keep them active and functioning properly. Another source of concern is the possibility that these techniques will be harmful. We are, nevertheless, progressing at a steady rate.