Biofilm dynamics : linking in situ biofilm biomass and metabolic activity measurements in real-time under continuous flow conditions

Klopper, Kyle Brent ; De Witt, Riaan N. ; Bester, Elanna ; Dicks, Leon M. T. ; Wolfaardt, Gideon M. (2020)

CITATION: Klopper, K. B., et al. Biofilm dynamics : linking in situ biofilm biomass and metabolic activity measurements in real-time under continuous flow conditions. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, 6:42, doi:10.1038/s41522-020-00153-9.

The original publication is available at https://www.nature.com

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund

Article

The tools used to study biofilms generally involve either destructive, end-point analyses or periodic measurements. The advent of the internet of things (IoT) era allows circumvention of these limitations. Here we introduce and detail the development of the BioSpec; a modular, nondestructive, real-time monitoring system, which accurately and reliably track changes in biofilm biomass over time. The performance of the system was validated using a commercial spectrophotometer and produced comparable results for variations in planktonic and sessile biomass. BioSpec was combined with the previously developed carbon dioxide evolution measurement system (CEMS) to allow simultaneous measurement of biofilm biomass and metabolic activity and revealed a differential response of these interrelated parameters to changing environmental conditions. The application of this system can facilitate a greater understanding of biofilm mass–function relationships and aid in the development of biofilm control strategies.

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