Author(s): Reipa V, Almeida J, Cole KD
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Abstract A biofilm reactor was constructed to monitor the long-term growth and removal of biofilms as monitored by the use of a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and a novel optical method. The optical method measures the reflectance of white light off the surface of the quartz crystal microbalance electrode (gold) for determination of the biofilm thickness. Biofilm growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) on the surface was used as a model system. Bioreactors were monitored for over 6 days. Expressing the QCM data as the ratio of changes in resistance to changes in frequency (DeltaR/Deltaf) facilitated the comparison of individual biofilm reactor runs. The various stages of biofilm growth and adaptation to low nutrients showed consistent characteristic changes in the DeltaR/Deltaf ratio, a parameter that reflects changes in the viscoelastic properties of the biofilm. The utility of white light reflectance for thickness measurements was shown for those stages of biofilm growth when the solution was not turbid due to high numbers of unattached cells. The thickness of the biofilms after 6 days ranged from 48 mum to 68 mum. Removal of the biofilm by a disinfectant (chlorine) was also measured in real time. The combination of QCM and reflectance allowed us to monitor in real time changes in the viscoelastic properties and thickness of biofilms over long periods of time.
This article was published in J Microbiol Methods
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering and Bioelectronics