Life in a biofilm


Biofilm is a new concept, where slime which is an exogenous secretion of the bacterial cell walls, adhere other sorts of bacteria, together forming a protective covering, not for one but for colonies of bacteria.

Biofilms are everywhere, the plaque that forms in the teeth, to the slippery coat on the riversides, to the gunk that covers the pipelines. Wherever you find a combination of moisture, nutrients and a surface, you are likely to find biofilm. Knowing biofilms dates back to 1684 when Anthony van Leeuwenhoek first remarked on the immense microbial accumulations in dental plaques. They are extremely tolerant towards biocides and other physical means. For instance, microbial biofilms are naturally tolerant of antibiotic doses up to 1,000 times greater than doses that normally kill planktonic bacteria. This huge resistance to drugs can be attributed to the following properties:

  • Lesser penetration of the biocidal agents
  • Unfavourable working conditions, as they secrete a lot of catalase enzyme
  • One biofilm can harbour immense varieties of microorganisms, each with a different tolerance
  • Reduced metabolism enables the microorganisms to uptake lesser amounts of biocides
  • Increased biomass: even if one bacteria dies, somewhere some isolated bacteria will always be able to obtain nutrients and reproduce rapidly

But they have positive aspects too! Biofilms are essential life links that shape/ form the basis of food webs. For instance, they nourish insect larvae, which are eaten by fish, then they by falcons. Biofilms attached to particles of contaminated soils and aquatic sediments can help degrade soil-bound contaminants that occur from accidental chemical releases into the environment.

In all good health, it is essential for biofilms to not grow in unwanted places. Therefore, a timely water treatment system is needed to stop the formation of biofilm with regular sanitation measures; otherwise the surfaces get very difficult to treat. A regular system involves the usage of hot water, but they turn out to be very expensive and require a great deal of time, rinsing the pipeline over and over.

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Chemtex Speciality Limited globally markets Nano Silver Hydrogen Peroxide made from a combination of Hydrogen Peroxide IP and Nano Silver particles, under the registered trade name of Alstasan Silvox.



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