Transport of 1-μm latex particles in pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

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Fluorescent latex microbeads added to a Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm as tracers of particle movement penetrated the biofilm and remained in it much longer than predicted by a model of advective displacement due to cell growth. Beads with a nominal diameter of 1 μm that were added in the bulk fluid became distributed throughout the biofilm depth. Some microbeads penetrated to the substratum within the 24-h bead addition period. The biofilms had a mean thickness of approximately 34 μm but have been previously shown to be quite rough. Measured rates of bead release from the biofilm corresponded to first order time coefficients of 0.01–0.03 h−1. These bead release rates were approximately an order of magnitude less than the predicted time scale of advective transport, which is just the experimentally measured specific cellular growth rate of 0.15 h−1. Computer simulations of bead transport using the biofilm model BIOSIM were compared with bead release rate data and with bead position distributions within the biofilm as determined by microscopic examination of thin cross sections of embedded biofilm. The model predicted much faster release of beads from the biofilm than actually occurred. It is hypothesized that both the ability of beads to penetrate the biofilm and the unexpectedly low advective displacement velocity of particles in the biofilm were due to the rough nature of the biofilm.




Drury, W.J., P.S. Stewart, and W.G. Characklis, "Transport of 1-μm latex particles in pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms," Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 42(1):111-117 (1993).
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