Effects of carbon and oxygen limitations and calcium concentrations on biofilm removal processes
Applegate, D. H.
Bryers, James D.
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Bacterial biofilm removal processes due to shear and catastrophic sloughing have been investigated in a turbulent flow system under conditions of carbon versus oxygen substrate limitations and varying aqueous phase calcium concentrations. Biofilm cellular and extracellular polymer carbon, total biofilm carbon and mass, and biofilm calcium concentrations are measured for pure culture biofilms of the facultative aerobe, Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172. Results indicate oxygen-limited biofilms reach a higher steady-state biofilm organic carbon level than carbon-limited biofilms. Oxygen-limited biofilms also exhibit (1) a higher extracellular polymer-carbon: cell-carbon ratio throughout biofilm development and (2) a higher biofilm calcium content than carbon-limited biofilms. Increasing aqueous phase calcium concentrations increase the amount of biofilm calcium in both cases; the rate of calcium accumulation in oxygen-limited biofilms increases with increasing liquid phase calcium concentrations over the entire range studied while the rates of calcium accumulation in carbon-limited biofilms appear independent of aqueous phase calcium concentrations above 11.0 mg/L. Oxygen-limited biofilms with their higher extracellular polymer and calcium content exhibit shear removal rates that are 20–40% of those observed for carbon-limited biofilms. However, it is the oxygen-limited biofilms that experience catastrophic sloughing events. The carbon-limited biofilms studied here never sloughed even if subjected to intentional long-term deprivation of all nutrients. Reduced shear removal and the susceptibility to sloughing of the oxygen-limited biofilms are attributed to their more cohesive structure bought about by their relatively greater extracellular polymer production.
Applegate, D.H. and J.D. Bryers, "Effects of carbon and oxygen limitations and calcium concentrations on biofilm removal processes," Biotechnol. Bioeng., 37(1):17-25 (1991).