Biofouling in water systems--cases, causes and countermeasures

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Sep;59(6):629-40. doi: 10.1007/s00253-002-1066-9. Epub 2002 Jul 26.


Biofouling is referred to as the unwanted deposition and growth of biofilms. This phenomenon can occur in an extremely wide range of situations, from the colonisation of medical devices to the production of ultra-pure, drinking and process water and the fouling of ship hulls, pipelines and reservoirs. Although biofouling occurs in such different areas, it has a common cause, which is the biofilm. Biofilms are the most successful form of life on Earth and tolerate high amounts of biocides. For a sustainable anti-fouling strategy, an integrated approach is suggested which includes the analysis of the fouling situation, a selection of suitable components from the anti-fouling menu and an effective and representative monitoring of biofilm development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Pollution