April 2022

In many natural settings and in most chronic infections, bacteria live in adhesive, layered communities called biofilms.

Biofilms are composed of dead cells and debris, all glued together with extra-cellular compounds such as polysaccharides.

This layer of protection acts as a barrier, making it difficult for disinfectants and antibiotics to penetrate and act on the microorganism.

Many pharmaceutical, disinfectant, and medical device companies now put significant focus on eradicating and preventing biofilm formation, as biofilms can lead to chronic infections, contamination of manufacturing facilities, and product spoliation. Organisms such as Bacillus subtilisEscherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus are all biofilm forming.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that 65% of all bacterial infections are associated with biofilm formation. Not only does the multicellular matrix of the biofilm physically block the use of antibiotics, but the close proximity of the bacteria allows for horizontal gene transfer to spread resistance as well. This causes persistent chronic infections in patients and can lead to illnesses like periodontitis, dental caries, chronic wounds, kidney stones, and osteomyelitis.

Microchem conducts a broad range of biofilm tests, including ASTM E3161 and ASTM E2871 for EPA-regulated biofilm kill claims. To learn more about biofilm growth and testing methods for EPA claims, email [email protected].