Chapter 7 Controlling Biofilms
Section 1 Overview of Detrimental Biofilms and Control Strategies
Page 2 Overview of Detrimental Biofilms and Control Strategies

A substantially updated version of the hypertextbook is available here. Please migrate to that version. This one will eventually disappear.


Overview of Detrimental Biofilms and Control Strategies

Many times when microorganisms form biofilms on engineered surfaces or in a medical context, the presence of the biofilm is detrimental (Figure 1).  Biofilm can cause material degradation, fouling that impedes fluid flow or heat transfer, contamination, infection, or cosmetic discoloration.  Figure 1 illustrates some of these detrimental effects with specific examples.

Biofilms Impact
Figure 1. Examples of detrimental biofilms and control strategies.

I have ideas for making this an interactive figure with a couple layers of information, but this will have to come later.

Chemical agents and physical approaches are routinely deployed to try to control biofilms and the problems they cause.  Chemical treatments include a wide variety of antimicrobial agents, such as biocides and antibiotics, and also chemical cleaners that assist in removing biotic or abiotic constituents of the biofilm.  Physical cleaning can be accomplished, for example, by scraping, brushing, or hydraulic flushing.