Graphene oxide (GO) has been reported to possess antibacterial activity; therefore, its accumulation in the environment could affect microbial communities such as biofilms. The susceptibility of biofilms to antimicrobials is known to depend on the stage of biofilm maturity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of GO nano-particles on Pseudomonas putida KT2440 biofilm of variable age. FT-IR, UV-vis, and Raman spectroscopy confirmed the oxidation of graphene while XPS confirmed the high purity of the synthesised GO over 6 months. Biofilms varying in maturity (24, 48, and 72 h) were formed using a CDC reactor and were treated with GO (85 μg/mL or 8.5 μg/mL). The viability of P. putida was monitored by culture on media and the bacterial membrane integrity was assessed using flow cytometry. P. putida cells were observed using confocal microscopy and SEM. The results showed that GO significantly reduced the viability of 48-h biofilm and detached biofilm cells associated with membrane damage while the viability was not affected in 24- and 72-h biofilms and detached biofilm cells. The results showed that susceptibility of P. putida biofilm to GO varied according to age which may be due to changes in the physiological state of cells during maturation. Graphical abstract.
Keywords: Biofilm; Detached biofilm cells; Flow cytometry; Graphene oxide; Membrane damage; Pseudomonas putida; SEM.