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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2010 Aug;59(3):421-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2010.00694.x. Epub 2010 May 10.

Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and tolerance to antibiotics in response to oscillatory shear stresses of physiological levels.

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Biofilm Engineering Research Group, Calgary Center for Innovative Technology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.


Bacterial infections in the blood system are usually associated with blood flow oscillation generated by some cardiovascular pathologies and insertion of indwelling devices. The influence of hydrodynamically induced shear stress fluctuations on the Staphylococcus aureus biofilm morphology and tolerance to antibiotics was investigated. Fluctuating shear stresses of physiologically relevant levels were generated in wells of a six-well microdish agitated by an orbital shaker. Numerical simulations were performed to determine the spatial distribution and local fluctuation levels of the shear stress field on the well bottom. It is found that the local biofilm deposition and morphology correlate strongly with shear stress fluctuations and maximum magnitude levels. Tolerance to killing by antibiotics correlates with morphotype and is generally higher in high shear regions.

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