Developing an ecologically relevant heterogeneous biofilm model for dental-unit waterlines

Lal, Sham, Pearce, Mark, Achilles-Day, Undine EM, Day, John G, Morton, Leslie Hugh Glyn, Crean, Stjohn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9336-8549 and Singhrao, Simarjit Kaur orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9573-5963 (2016) Developing an ecologically relevant heterogeneous biofilm model for dental-unit waterlines. Biofouling, 33 (1). pp. 75-87. ISSN 0892-7014

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This study monitored the biodiversity of microbes cultured from a heterogeneous biofilm which had formed on the lumen of a section of dental waterline tubing over a period of 910 days. By day two bacterial counts on the outlet-water showed that contamination of the system had occurred. After 14 days, a biofilm comparable to that of clinical waterlines, consisting of bacteria, fungi and amoebae had formed. This showed that the proprietary silver coating applied to the lumenal surface of the commercial waterline tubing failed to prevent biofilm formation. Molecular barcoding of isolated culturable microorganisms showed some degree of the diversity of taxa in the biofilm, including the opportunistic pathogen Legionella pneumophila. Whilst the system used for isolation and identification of contaminating microorganisms may underestimate the diversity of organisms in the biofilm, their similarity to those found in the clinical environment makes this a promising test-bed for future biocide testing.

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