Modeling biofilm antimicrobial resistance
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A computer model capable of integrating mechanisms of biofilm resistance to disinfection by antimicrobial agents was developed. Resistance mechanisms considered included retarded penetration due to a stoichiometric reaction between the antimicrobial agent and biomass, incomplete penetration due to a catalytic reaction between the antimicrobial agent and the biomass, and the existence of a fraction of the cells in a resistant phenotypic state. Mathematical models of these processes were derived and solved in the computer simulation package MATLAB. Four sets of fitted experimental data on the disinfection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms were fit to each of the three models. No one model fit all of the data sets adequately. Killing of a 2-day old biofilm by tobramycin was best described by the physiological limitation model. Killing by hypochlorite was best described by the stoichiometric transport model. Killing by hydrogen peroxide was best simulated by the catalytic transport model. These results suggest that multiple mechanisms of biofilm reduced susceptibility are manifested even in biofilms of the same species and that the particular resistance mechanism depends on the biofilm age, antimicrobial agent, and biofilm thickness. The models presented in this article may be useful for diagnosing mechanisms of biofilm resistance from experimental data.
Dodds, M.G., K.J. Grobe, P.S. Stewart, "Modeling biofilm antimicrobial resistance," Biotech Bioeng., 68(4):456-465 (2000).