Biofilms And Infection: What You Should Know

By Dave Nielson, DPM, FAPWCA and Guy Pupp, DPM, FACFAS

How Biofilm Forms And What Makes It Unique

There is a growing interest in the research of biofilms. Biofilms are estimated at 1 million nosocomial infections each year in the U.S.      Biofilm is a complex aggregation of microorganisms marked by the excretion of a protective and adhesive matrix. Biofilms are often characterized by surface attachments, structural heterogeneous diversity, complex community interactions and an extracellular matrix of polymeric substances.      Formation of a biofilm begins with the attachment of free floating microorganisms to a surface. These first colonized microorganisms adhere to the surface initially through weak, reversible van der Waals forces. If these microorganisms are not immediately separated from the surface, they can anchor themselves more permanently using cell adhesion molecules such as pili. Once colonization has begun, the biofilm grows through a combination of cell division and recruitment mediated by extracellular polysaccharides.

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