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Biofilms are a complex community of microorganisms that adhere to a surface and are embedded in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), a glue-like substance microorganisms produce to stick together.
The microorganisms have various shapes and lengths. For its shapes, it includes spheres, rods, spirals, corkscrews, and so on. They are typically about 1 centimeter long and ten of thousands times smaller, which are invisible to our naked eyes.
The fact that they stick together implies that they love to live in colonies too. It is like a fortress that is impenetrable by antibiotics.
Places of formation:
Global Impact of Biofilms:
Although it is well-known in the scientific community, it is less known in the general public for several reasons:
Lack of public awareness:
Difficult to model in the lab:
To fight it, there are a few ongoing tools that we can utilise:
This method utilises a virus to infect the bacteria the same way it infects other organisms. Like antibiotics, phages leave the host's cells alone without harming human or animal cells.
However, this method is scientifically limited but is developed by Glasglow-based Fixed Phage.
Cold plasma is a state of matter, in which electrons have been stripped away from their parent atoms by a power electric field.
This method is applicable in other areas, such as wastewater treatment.
It disrupts the membrane of bacterial cells with PL0206, a small protein that is attracted to the negatively charged environment inside a biofilm.
This method has been carried on Phase 1 clinical trial with 14 patients with prosthetic joint infections, where interim data looks promising.
Tearing it down:
It loosens two universal components of biofilms, known as DNA-B-II. Loosening the DNA scaffolding of the biofilms would cause a collapse of the structure.
Tested on two dozen bacterial species, no biofilms survived the disappearance of DNABII.
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