Methods for biofilm analysis on silicone tubing of dialysis machines
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We describe an analytical protocol to study biofilms that develop inside silicone tubing of dialysis machines. This protocol has been set up with the help of a dynamic testing device reproducing dialysis conditions. The methodology includes direct microscopic observation, biofilm removal with an original mechanical biofilm scraper, quantitative analysis with culturable and total bacteria counting, and endotoxin level measurement using the LAL chromogenic kinetic assay. The analytical protocol has been assessed on 13 different clinical tubing samples. Most samples were contaminated by adherent cells and the thickest biofilms were found at the connection between the dialysis water distribution loop and the dialysis machine. The less contaminated samples had been removed from dialysis machines that were decontaminated with citric acid and autoclaving, showing the importance of the decontamination procedure for the prevention of biofilm development. This article shows that easy, rapid, reproducible, and economical methods are applicable for a routine analysis of biofilms that develop on dialysis systems and should be included in the regular control of the microbiological quality of dialysis liquids.
Marion-Ferey, K., F. Enkiri, M. Pasmore, G.P. Husson, and R. Vilagines, "Methods for biofilm analysis on silicone tubing of dialysis machines," Artif. Organs, 27(7):658-664 (2003)