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J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Oct;103(4):985-92.

In vitro biofilm model for studying tongue flora and malodour.

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1
Centre for Research in Biomedicine, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

To develop a perfusion biofilm system to model tongue biofilm microflora and their physiological response to sulfur-containing substrates (S-substrates) in terms of volatile sulfide compound (VSC) production.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Tongue-scrape inocula were used to establish in vitro perfusion biofilms which were examined in terms of ecological composition using culture-dependent and independent (PCR-DGGE) approaches. VSC-specific activity of cells was measured by a cell suspension assay, using a portable industrial sulfide monitor which was also used to monitor VSC production from biofilms in situ. Quasi steady states were achieved by 48 h and continued to 96 h. The mean (+/-SEM) growth rate for 72-h biofilms (n=4) was micro=0.014 h(-1) (+/-0.005 h(-1)). Comparison of biofilms, perfusate and original inoculum showed their ecological composition to be similar (Pearson coefficient>0.64). Perfusate and biofilm cells derived from the same condition (co-sampled) were equivalent with regard to VSC-specific activities which were up-regulated in the presence of S-substrates.

CONCLUSIONS:

The model maintained a stable tongue microcosm suitable for studying VSC production; biofilm growth in the presence of S-substrates up-regulated VSC activity.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

The method is apt for studying ecological and physiological aspects of oral biofilms and could be useful for screening inhibitory agents.

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