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J Microbiol Methods. 2001 Sep;46(3):193-208.

Integration of Raman microscopy, differential interference contrast microscopy, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to investigate chlorhexidine spatial and temporal distribution in Candida albicans biofilms.

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Center for Biofilm Engineering and Microbiology Department, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-3980, USA.


Two spectroscopic techniques, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and Raman microscopy (RM), were used to characterize transport of chlorhexidine digluconate (CHG) in Candida albicans (CA) biofilms. Different (volumetric) regions of the biofilm are sampled by these two vibrational spectroscopies making them complementary techniques. Simple mathematical models were developed to analyze ATR-FTIR and RM data to obtain an effective diffusion coefficient describing transport through CA biofilms. CA biofilms were composed primarily of yeast and hyphal forms, with some pseudohyphae. Upper regions of biofilms that had become confluent, (i.e., biofilms that completely covered the germanium (Ge) substratum) were composed primarily of a tangled mass of hyphae with openings between germtubes about 10 to 50 microm across. Quantitative analysis of ATR-FTIR kinetic data curves indicated that the effective diffusion coefficient for transport of CHG through confluent biofilms about 200-microm thick was reduced 0.1 to 0.3 times compared to the diffusion coefficient for CHG in water. Effective diffusion coefficients obtained from analysis of RM data were consistently higher than those indicated by ATR-FTIR data suggesting that transport is more hindered in regions near the base of the biofilm than in the outer layers. Analysis of both ATR-FTIR and RM data obtained from thicker films indicated that adsorption of CHG to biofilm components was responsible for a substantial portion of the transport limitation imposed by the biofilm. Comparison of ATR-FTIR and RM data for both types of biofilms indicated that sites of CHG adsorption were more concentrated in the interfacial region than in the bulk biofilm. Comparison of results for ATR-FTIR and RM measurements suggests that these relatively thick CA biofilms can be modeled, for purposes of predicting transport, approximately as a homogeneous thin planar sheet. Thus, these biofilms offer a relatively tractable model system for initial investigations of the relation between antimicrobial transport and kinetics of antimicrobial action.

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