Medical biofilms

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2008 May 1;100(1):1-18. doi: 10.1002/bit.21838.


For more than two decades, Biotechnology and Bioengineering has documented research focused on natural and engineered microbial biofilms within aquatic and subterranean ecosystems, wastewater and waste-gas treatment systems, marine vessels and structures, and industrial bioprocesses. Compared to suspended culture systems, intentionally engineered biofilms are heterogeneous reaction systems that can increase reactor productivity, system stability, and provide inherent cell:product separation. Unwanted biofilms can create enormous increases in fluid frictional resistances, unacceptable reductions in heat transfer efficiency, product contamination, enhanced material deterioration, and accelerated corrosion. Missing from B&B has been an equivalent research dialogue regarding the basic molecular microbiology, immunology, and biotechnological aspects of medical biofilms. Presented here are the current problems related to medical biofilms; current concepts of biofilm formation, persistence, and interactions with the host immune system; and emerging technologies for controlling medical biofilms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Bioreactors*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Sterilization / methods*