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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 1998;255(8):410-3.

The effect of buttermilk consumption on biofilm formation on silicone rubber voice prostheses in an artificial throat.

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Laboratory for Materia Technica, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


Biofilm formation on indwelling silicone rubber voice prostheses in laryngectomized patients is still the main reason for dysfunction of the valve, leading to frequent replacements. Within patient support groups in The Netherlands, laryngectomees have suggested that the consumption of buttermilk prolongs the life-time of indwelling silicone rubber voice prostheses. The aim of the present study was to compare biofilm formation on Groningen button voice prostheses in a so-called artificial throat. Ten prostheses were placed in a simulated control group and ten other prostheses in a group with a simulated consumption of 700 ml buttermilk three times a day. Biofilms were allowed to grow on the prostheses by inoculating two artificial throats with the total cultivable microflora (bacteria and yeasts) isolated from an explanted Groningen button voice prosthesis. After 3 days, one artificial throat was perfused three times daily with phosphate buffer (control group) for 8 days, while the other artificial throat was perfused with buttermilk. Prostheses removed from the artificial throat in the control group were covered with a thick biofilm. Scanning electron microscopy showed microcolonies growing into the silicone rubber, similar to the ingrowth observed on explanted Groningen buttons. The simulated consumption of buttermilk in the other artificial throat almost fully prevented the formation of a biofilm on the prostheses during the experimental period. These in vitro experiments in the artificial throat demonstrate that the deterioration of voice prostheses can be lessened by the daily intake of buttermilk through its inhibitory effects on biofilm formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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