Send to

Choose Destination
Water Res. 2011 Jan;45(3):1347-57. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.10.016. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Rotating disk electrodes to assess river biofilm thickness and elasticity.

Author information

Université de Toulouse, UPS, INP, EcoLab (Laboratoire d'écologie fonctionnelle), 118 route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse, France.


The present study examined the relevance of an electrochemical method based on a rotating disk electrode (RDE) to assess river biofilm thickness and elasticity. An in situ colonisation experiment in the River Garonne (France) in August 2009 sought to obtain natural river biofilms exhibiting differentiated architecture. A constricted pipe providing two contrasted flow conditions (about 0.1 and 0.45 m s(-1) in inflow and constricted sections respectively) and containing 24 RDE was immersed in the river for 21 days. Biofilm thickness and elasticity were quantified using an electrochemical assay on 7 and 21 days old RDE-grown biofilms (t(7) and t(21), respectively). Biofilm thickness was affected by colonisation length and flow conditions and ranged from 36 ± 15 μm (mean ± standard deviation, n = 6) in the fast flow section at t(7) to 340 ± 140 μm (n = 3) in the slow flow section at t(21). Comparing the electrochemical signal to stereomicroscopic estimates of biofilms thickness indicated that the method consistently allowed (i) to detect early biofilm colonisation in the river and (ii) to measure biofilm thickness of up to a few hundred μm. Biofilm elasticity, i.e. biofilm squeeze by hydrodynamic constraint, was significantly higher in the slow (1300 ± 480 μm rpm(1/2), n = 8) than in the fast flow sections (790 ± 350 μm rpm(1/2), n = 11). Diatom and bacterial density, and biofilm-covered RDE surface analyses (i) confirmed that microbial accrual resulted in biofilm formation on the RDE surface, and (ii) indicated that thickness and elasticity represent useful integrative parameters of biofilm architecture that could be measured on natural river assemblages using the proposed electrochemical method.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center