Microbial Biofilms

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Assessment of the microbial biofilms begins with first and foremost sourcing and or culturing them. These can be observed in situ or can be cultured for further studies and experimentation. Caves serve as a very lucrative and accessible natural source for biofilm observation.


The continuous culture systems chemostat and turbidostat could also be used to culture the biofilms. The type of environment they are grown in, effects their ultimate morphological, clustering and adhesion character.
For Visualization, traditionally electron microscopy was the method of choice to examine microbial biofilms under high resolution. Unfortunately, sample preparation for electron microscopy results in dehydrated samples. Consequently, this approach provided a deceivingly simplistic view of biofilms, since the biofilm collapsed when water was removed. (Davey and Ootle, 2000) Phase microscopy was also an alternative to visualization of living biofilms. Biofilms are removed and either directly visualised or fixed and stained prior to examination. Several techniques for microscopy examination of biofilms in situ on the substrata supporting their growth have been used in this study. These have included transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), episcopic differential interference contrast microscopy (DIC) with and without fluorescence, Hoffman modulation contrast microscopy (HMC), atomic force microscopy (AFM). ...
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