Chemical Characterization of Films

  • D. C. White
Part of the Life Sciences Research Reports book series (DAHLEM, volume 31)


Biofilms represent a complex assembly of different groups of attached microbes with their excretory products. Sensitive measures of the biomass, community structure, nutritional status, and metabolic activities, as well as the chemical characterization of their extracellular polymers, have given insight into the ecology of this system. Exposure of surfaces to flowing waters produces a succession of microbes whose community structure and metabolic activity is affected by the chemistry, biodegradability, and microtopography of the surface, as well as the shear forces and nutrient content of the flowing waters. The grazing of the biofilm by predators or the mechanical or chemical disruption of the biofilm greatly affect the metabolic activity and the potential for secondary reaccumulation and the secretion of extracellular polymers. The extracellular polymers formed by the biofilm microbes are particularly important as they greatly increase the resistance of the microbes to biocides and the efficiency of heat transfer. The metabolic activity of thin biofilm can create microanaerobic sites that facilitate the growth of fermenters and hydrogen utilizers whose acidic fermentation products can greatly facilitate corrosion. The microanalytical methods currently available require the destruction of the biofilm in its assay. With progress in instrumentation the destructive sampling can be supplanted by nondestructive continuous monitoring, possibly utilizing a Fourier transforming infrared system which may provide insights into the chemical basis of adhesion and interactions between the components of the biofilm microbial assembly.


High Pressure Liquid Chromatographic Uronic Acid Phospholipid Fatty Acid Composition Monoenoic Fatty Acid Muramic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Dr. S. Bernhard, Dahlem Konferenzen, Berlin 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. White
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Biomedical and Toxicological ResearchFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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