Modeling multispecies biofilms including new bacterial species invasion

Math Biosci. 2015 Jan;259:20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2014.10.009. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


A mathematical model for multispecies biofilm evolution based on continuum approach and mass conservation principles is presented. The model can describe biofilm growth dynamics including spatial distribution of microbial species, substrate concentrations, attachment, and detachment, and, in particular, is able to predict the biological process of colonization of new species and transport from bulk liquid to biofilm (or vice-versa). From a mathematical point of view, a significant feature is the boundary condition related to biofilm species concentrations on the biofilm free boundary. These data, either for new or for already existing species, are not required by this model, but rather can be predicted as results. Numerical solutions for representative examples are obtained by the method of characteristics. Results indicate that colonizing bacteria diffuse into biofilm and grow only where favorable environmental conditions exist for their development.

Keywords: Bacterial species invasion; Free boundary problems; Multispecies biofilms; Nonlinear hyperbolic and parabolic partial differential equations; Numerical simulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Models, Biological*