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Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Jun;75(6):570-8.

Heterogeneity of diffusion inside microbial biofilms determined by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy under two-photon excitation.

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Laboratoire Charles Fabry de I'Institut d'Optique, UMR 8501, Orsay, France.


Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) under two-photon excitation was applied successfully to characterize the penetration and diffusion capabilities of fluorescent probes (latex beads and fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran) of different size and electrical charge in two models of monomicrobial biofilms with low (Lactococcus lactis biofilm) or high (Stenotrophonas maltophilia biofilm) contents of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). FCS measurements performed on each biofilm can show deviation from Brownian diffusion, depending on the local structure of the biofilm and the fluorophore size. In this case, we fitted the data to an anomalous diffusion model and determined apparent diffusion coefficients, which can be 50 times smaller than the values in aqueous solutions. This result was interpreted as steric hindrance of the diffusion of the fluorescent particles within the biofilm that can lead to a total inhibition as observed particularly in the mushroom-like structure of the S. maltophilia biofilm. Alternatively, mechanisms for the absence of FCS signal behavior were related to attractive electrostatic interactions between cationic particles and negatively charged bacteria or to specific interactions between dextrans and EPS of the biofilm matrix.

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