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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Jul;29(1):10-5.

Role of dose concentration in biocide efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms.

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


Pseudomonas aeruginosa entrapped in alginate gel beads to form artificial biofilms resisted killing by chlorine, glutaraldehyde, 2,2-dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA), and an alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium compound (ADBAC). The degree of resistance was quantified by a resistance factor that compared killing times for biofilm and planktonic cells in response to the same concentration of antimicrobial agent. Resistance factors averaged 120 for chlorine, 34 for glutaraldehyde, 29 for DBNPA, and 1900 for ADBAC. In every case, resistance factors decreased with increasing concentration of the antimicrobial agent. An independent analysis of the concentration dependence of the apparent rates of killing of planktonic and biofilm bacteria showed that elevating the treatment concentration increased bacterial killing more in the biofilm than it did in a suspension culture. Calculation of a transport modulus comparing the rates of biocide reaction and diffusion suggested that at least part of the biofilm resistance to chlorine, glutaraldehdye, and DBNPA could be attributed to incomplete or slow penetration of these agents into the biofilm. Time-kill curves were nonlinear for biofilm bacteria in some cases. The shapes of these curves implicated retarded antimicrobial penetration for chlorine and glutaraldehyde and the presence of a tolerant subpopulation for DBNPA and ADBAC. The results indicate that treating biofilms with a concentrated dose of biocide is more effective than using prolonged doses of a lower concentration.

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