Reduced susceptibility of thin Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms to hydrogen peroxide and monochloramine

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa attached to alginate gel beads in sparse, thin biofilms exhibited reduced susceptibility to monochloramine and hydrogen peroxide compared to planktonic cells of the same micro-organism. Disinfection rate coefficients for planktonic bacteria averaged 0.551 mg –1min-1 for monochloramine and 3.1 x 10-4 1 mg –1min-1 for hydrogen peroxide. The corresponding values for 24-h-old biofilm cells were 0.291 mg 1min-1 and 9.2 x 10-5 1 mg –1min-1 for monochloramine and hydrogen peroxide, respectively. Several pieces of evidence support the interpretation that the reduced susceptibility of biofilm was not due simply to inadequate delivery of the antimicrobial agent to the local environment of the attached cells. No correlation between biofilm susceptibility and biofilm initial areal cell density was observed. Rapid delivery of hydrogen peroxide to the attached surface, and subsequently to the interior, of the alginate gel beads was visualized by a direct experimental technique. Theoretical analysis of unsteady diffusion and diffusion-reaction interactions also argued against any significant delay or barrier to antimicrobial or oxygen delivery. It was hypothesized that new genes are expressed when bacteria attach to a surface and begin to form a biofilm, and that some of the resulting gene products reduce the susceptibility of the cell to antimicrobial agents including oxidative biocides such as monochloramine and hydrogen peroxide.




Cochran W, McFeters G, and Stewart P, "Reduced susceptibility of thin Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms to hydrogen peroxide and monochloramine," J Appl Micro, 88 (1):22-30. (2000).
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