Biofilm in Endoscopy

Biofilm in Endoscopy

Biofilm is a collection of microorganisms surrounded by the slime they secrete, attached to either an inert or a living surface. A simple illustration might be gelatin fruit salad with the individual pieces of fruit suspended in gelatin, which is allowed to dry and harden. Some familiar examples of biofilm include the plaque on teeth, the slippery slime on river stones and the gel-like film on the inside of a vase which held flowers for a week. Biofilm is the cosmopolite of the bacterial world, comfortable in any setting, existing wherever surfaces contact water.

More than 99 percent of all bacteria live in biofilm communities. Some are beneficial: the organisms lining a healthy intestine prevent damage from pathogenic toxins; the organisms of the female genito-urinary tract create an acidic environment which is noxious to pathogens. Other types of biofilm are harmful, harboring microorganisms which may cause chronic infection or perhaps lead to rejection of medical implants.

In industry, sewage treatment plants rely on biofilm to remove contaminants from water; but biofilm can also cause problems by corroding pipes and clogging water filters.


The organisms lining a healthy intestine; the organisms of a female genito-urinary tract

Biofilm exists wherever a surface contacts water.

Next Page: Biofilm Formation

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