Biofilm Essay

1036 Words 5 Pages
Objective To grow, examine, and describe the growth of biofilm on glass slides placed in plant material, soil, and water.

Introduction
Biofilms consist of cells that adhere to a surface and each other by forming a slimy layer that suspends and attaches them. This layer is called the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which consists of polysaccharides, DNA and other various hydrophilic polymers. The EPS forms a matrix to which cells attach to so that they are planted in place nearby a nutrient source for growth and division. The biofilm creates a community that is anchored to surfaces and protects it from harmful substances, such as disinfectants. (Anderson, Salm, Allen, & Nester, Microbiology: a human perspective, 2016, pp. 94-95)
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These biofilms can be found on our teeth and can cause caries leading to tooth loss and many other health issues. Furthermore, these biofilms can form on implants and may cause serious infection that is difficult to treat due to the nature of biofilms. They may even be found in heart valves and cause heart disease. Lastly, biofilms also benefit us, as is true with the microbiota within our digestive tract. They do this by producing needed nutrients we cannot synthesis ourselves or competitively inhibiting the growth of pathogenic organisms (Anderson, Salm, Allen, & Nester, Microbiology: a human perspective, 2016, pp. 94-95, 629-632) (Donlan, "Biofilms: Microbial Life on Surfaces", 2002).

Materials and Methods The biofilm study was set up in a glass container filled with tap water to which organic matter was added, leaves and soil. Five slides were placed in the bowl for the biofilm to be grown and harvested for staining and observation at two-week intervals. The bowl was placed on the railing of my back porch, which received a moderate amount of sunlight and the presence of wildlife near a bird feeder. No additional water was added throughout the entire cultivation process.
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This possibly suggests the bacteria present in the water were degrading the organic matter and increasing its availability in solution. The increased organic matter in solution would also make nutrients more readily available, which may also be another contributing factor for the increased growth that was observed. Growth was throughout, but mostly condensed surround the organic matter present on the slide. Furthermore, I observed that the majority of microbes that initially colonized the biofilm we coccus shaped. As time passed the bacillus shaped microbes became more established though they were still exceedingly outnumbered by the coccus shaped

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