Visualization of Aspergillus fumigatus biofilms with Scanning Electron Microscopy and Variable Pressure-Scanning Electron Microscopy: A comparison of processing techniques

J Microbiol Methods. 2017 Jan;132:46-55. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2016.11.002. Epub 2016 Nov 9.


Aspergillus fumigatus biofilms consist of a three-dimensional network of cellular hyphae and extracellular matrix. They are involved in infections of immune-compromised individuals, particularly those with cystic fibrosis. These structures are associated with persistence of infection, resistance to host immunity, and antimicrobial resistance. Thorough understanding of structure and function is imperative in the design of therapeutic drugs. Optimization of processing parameters, including aldehyde fixation, heavy metal contrasting, drying techniques and Ionic Liquid treatment, was undertaken for an ultrastructural approach to understand cellular and extracellular biofilm components. Conventional and Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy were applied to analyze the structure of biofilms attached to plastic and formed at an air-liquid interface.

Keywords: Aspergillus fumigatus; Biofilms; Processing techniques; Scanning Electron Microscopy; Variable Pressure-SEM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus fumigatus / ultrastructure*
  • Biofilms*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Extracellular Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hyphae / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning*
  • Pressure