Methods for imaging and quantifying the structure of biofilms in food processing and other environments
MetadataShow full item record
This chapter, as the title indicates, is about imaging and quantifying biofilm structure. The term biofilm structure was conceived in reference to the distribution of biomass in the space occupied by a biofilm, after it became obvious that this distribution was nonuniform. This is the original definition of biofilm structure and we have adhered to this definition in most parts of this text. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the definition of biofilm structure has expanded. Since the time when the original meaning of the term was proposed, nonuniform distribution of other components of biofilm has been demonstrated, in particular the nonuniform distribution of various physiological groups of microorganisms and the nonuniform distribution of various polymeric substances, collectively called extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). The distribution of physiological groups in biofilms has become a well-studied branch of biofilm research – known as microbial community structure analysis, and quantification of the distribution of various polymers constituting EPS has made progress as well. The tools used to quantify the nonuniform distribution of various components in biofilms have much in common. The smallest dimension of the biofilm, the thickness, is conveniently expressed in microns, and it determines that the resolution of tools used to study the distribution of the components in biofilms must provide spatial resolution better than the thickness of the biofilm. This clearly includes several types of microscopy. In this chapter, we discuss these tools and where appropriate we illustrate their use with examples. Finally, the distribution of the components in biofilms needs to be quantified, and we describe software packages that can be used for this purpose. The concept of biofilm structure is dynamic and flexible, and able to accommodate the distributions of the components that have been described as well as the distribution of components that will be described in the future.
Lewandowski Z, Beyenal H, "Methods for imaging and quantifying the structure of biofilms in food processing and other environments," In: Biofilms in the food and beverage industries Edited by P.M. Fratamico, B.A. Annous and N.W. Gunther IV. CRC Press 2009. pp. 99 - 130