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Mycopathologia. 2009 Sep;168(3):101-9. doi: 10.1007/s11046-009-9205-9. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Design of a simple model of Candida albicans biofilms formed under conditions of flow: development, architecture, and drug resistance.

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Department of Biology, South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, Texas 78249, USA.


Candida albicans biofilms on most medical devices are exposed to a flow of body fluids that provide water and nutrients to the fungal cells. While C. albicans biofilms grown in vitro under static conditions have been exhaustively studied, the same is not true for biofilms developed under continuous flow of replenishing nutrients. Here, we describe a simple flow biofilm (FB) model that can be built easily with materials commonly available in most microbiological laboratories. We demonstrate that C. albicans biofilms formed using this flow system show increased architectural complexity compared to biofilms grown under static conditions. C. albicans biofilms under continuous medium flow grow rapidly, and by 8 h show characteristics similar to 24 h statically grown biofilms. Biomass measurements and microscopic observations further revealed that after 24 h of incubation, FB was more than twofold thicker than biofilms grown under static conditions. Microscopic analyses revealed that the surface of these biofilms was extremely compact and wrinkled, unlike the open hyphal layer typically seen in 24 h static biofilms. Results of antifungal drug susceptibility tests showed that C. albicans cells in FB exhibited increased resistance to most clinically used antifungal agents.

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