Biofilm monitoring: a perfect solution in search of a problem
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The main problem with monitoring biofilms is data interpretation. Biofilm heterogeneity causes monitored parameters to vary from location to location in the same biofilm, and it is difficult to assess to what extent these variations are caused by biofilm heterogeneity and to what extent they reflect other properties of the biofilm. We have used the concept of discretized biofilms, which is an integrated system of biofilm monitoring and data interpretation, to assess the effect of biofilm heterogeneity on biofilm activity. Using this approach we have estimated that a heterogeneous biofilm can be ten times more active, in terms of glucose consumption rate, than a homogeneous biofilm of the same thickness but with uniformly distributed density.
Lewandowski, Z. and H. Beyenal, "Biofilm monitoring: a perfect solution in search of a problem," Wat. Sci., 47(5): 1251-1256 (2003).