Biofilms

1030 Words 4 Pages
Once the human body has been exposed to, and therefore infected by foreign bacteria, the infectious agents travel through the body via the bloodstream and the lymph nodes. After this infection occurs these bacteria now, in the body are planktonic. This means they are individual, free swimming, and virtually functioning as single celled organisms. When these bacteria are threatened by the host’s immune system or antibiotics they form biofilms. A biofilm is a thin coating of organic as well as inorganic matter that contains bacteria that have fused together and permanently anchored themselves to an object or body surface in contact with water. Bacterial biofilms commonly form on teeth, heart valves, urinary tracts, and even the inner lining of …show more content…
The planktonic bacteria attach to host proteins. These irreversible attachments signal the bacteria to create a biofilm. More and more bacteria anchor themselves permanently using cell adhesion structures such as pili and receptors called epitopes. This encourages bacterial multiplication and provides convenient sites for adhesion. The bacteria secrete an extracellular slimy substance comprised of proteins, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids to build the protective matrix biofilm structure. The bacteria now communicate by means of quorum sensing and use inducers to regulate gene expression within the bacterium. Quorum sensing is a bacterial mechanism entailed by consistent production and secretion of signaling molecules called inducers that creates a constant stimuli and response system that promotes biofilm formation. The biofilm grows by means of cell division and recruitment. The development of this complex biofilm makes the community of bacteria resistant the host’s immune response and to antibiotic …show more content…
These chronic infections are prolonged because they develop slowly, which means they can fester in a particular body lining or surface for a very long time. Because these biofilms grow slowly, they cannot be killed with most antibiotics. Most antibiotics kill rapidly growing bacteria, not stagnant, colonial bacteria. In addition, if a patient has a biofilm infection, its difficult to diagnose because unlike planktonic bacteria, biofilms cannot be identified in cultures. This leads to misdiagnoses and enhanced bacterial resistance within the

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