Disinfectant testing using foodborne bacteria in biofilms

Gun Wirtanen, Tiina Mattila-Sandholm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleScientific


Biofilm is a phenomenon which develops in several branches of industry, leading however to similar consequences such as increased resistance against antibiotics and disinfectants. In medicine biofilm is called glycocalyx. In processing equipment and circulation systems biofilm protects the microbes against cleaning and sanitation measures. The biofilm layers also trap nutrients, which is an important factor when bacteria grow on surfaces and the nutrient acquisition is limited. These and other results indicate that sanitizer and process disinfectants intended for use in the process industry should be tested on surfaces with test strains important for the industry in question. However, sensitivity tests of antibiotics and disinfectants against microbes are still generally performed using suspension cultures, which normally do not form biofilm. Results achieved in such trials do not correspond with practical situations and they have been called “interesting laboratory exercises”. Biofilm consists of both microbes and surrounding polysaccharides. The formation of biofilm can be induced using low-nutritive substrates, using antibiotics, by stressing the microbes, and above all using surfaces instead of suspensions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiofilms
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Technology
EditorsL.F. Melo, M. Fletcher, B. Capdeville
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-011-1824-8
ISBN (Print)978-94-010-4805-7
Publication statusPublished - 1992
MoE publication typeB2 Part of a book or another research book
EventBiofilms: Science and Technology - Alvor, Portugal
Duration: 18 May 199229 May 1992

Publication series

SeriesNato Advanced Study Institutes Series E: Applied Sciences




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