A modified microtiter-plate test for quantification of staphylococcal biofilm formation

J Microbiol Methods. 2000 Apr;40(2):175-9. doi: 10.1016/s0167-7012(00)00122-6.


The tube test and the microtiter-plate test are the most frequently used techniques for quantifying biofilm formation, an important indicator for the pathogenicity of staphylococci. The purpose of the present study was to develop a modified microtiter-plate technique for quantification of biofilm formation. This technique involves fixing the bacterial film with methanol, staining with crystal violet, releasing the bound dye with 33% glacial acetic acid, and measuring the optical density (OD) of the solution at 570 nm by using an enzyme immunosorbent assay reader. Biofilm formation of 30 Staphylococcus strains was estimated by the tube test, the standard microtiter-plate test and the modified microtiter-plate test. The modified microtiter-plate test, as a quantitative assay, is superior to the tube test in terms of objectivity and accuracy. It is also superior to the standard microtiter-plate test because it enables indirect measuring of bacteria attached both to the bottom and to the walls of the wells, while in the standard test only the dye bound to the bacteria adhered to the bottom of the wells is spectrophotometrically registered. Highly significant differences between OD values obtained by the standard microtiter-plate test and those obtained by the modified test suggest that large number of bacteria were attached to the walls of the wells. Therefore, the modification of the standard microtiter-plate test by introduction of an additional step of decolorization by acetic acid seems to be a useful improvement of the technique.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Culture Media
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Staphylococcus*


  • Culture Media