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Biofilm Treatment with Polymers

Bob McLean rm12 at swt.edu
Thu Jul 1 08:57:44 EST 1999

Hi Mary,
First let me welcome you to the biofilm field. Although activity on this 
discussion group is low right now, the field as a whole is really 
progressing well.
I am a little unclear about your definition of polymers. Do you refer to 
plastics, polypeptides, polysaccharides? In any case, there are a number 
of antifouling agents on the market right now. Often they are marketed 
under the generic names as biocide, slimicide, etc. You might try 
searching for medical references using medline 
(http://igm-01.nlm.nih.gov/index.html). As well I would recommend using 
other indexing services such as chemical abstracts, biological abstracts, 
etc. Try keywords such as biofilm, control, antifouling, as well as 
specific names of the chemicals that you are interested in.
In response to your question about measuring biofilms, chemical and 
spectrophotometric analyses are certainly easy. In my experience, they are 
about an order of magnitude less sensitive than conventional sonication 
(with a bath sonicator) and dilution plating. Other approaches include 
growing biofilms with radiolabelled bacteria and enumerating with a 
scintillation counter, doing acridine orange direct counts. There is a new 
volume of Methods in Enzymology (vol 310, edited by Ron Doyle) devoted 
entirely to biofilms, which is due to be published in the next few months. 
This volume will have a pretty comprehensive and up to date list of 
techniques for biofilm work.
Best wishes and good luck,
Bob McLean
At 11:04 PM 6/29/99 -0400, you wrote: 
>I am researching topics for my graduate project and my advisor would 
>like to do some work with biofilms. 
>My current work involves the use of polymers as drug treatments and we 
>are just getting into the anti-infective field. It would be nice if I 
>could mesh the two together (or so I thought). 
>When I did a literature search nothing comes up with polymers and 
>biofilms. However through web surfing I have found a number of 
>commercial companies out there that manufacture polymers and use them 
>for treatment of industrial waste water, paper mills, cooling towers 
>etc. An example of this is Buckman Laboratories, who market a 
>polyionene compound for biofilm eradication. Have any of these 
>companies published their data? Maybe I am searching in the wrong 
>place, is PubMed an unreasonable place to look for this information? My 
>thought had been to look at commercially available polymers of differing 
>molecular weight and different charge densities and see what effect they 
>would have on established biofilms. There is no sense in my reinventing 
>the wheel if the information is out there. Can any of you out there 
>offer some helpful suggestions? Just to clarify, I am not talking about 
>the polymers as surface components but as soluble antimicrobials. 
>Another question (if I may take up some more of your time) was about 
>quantifying biofilms after treatment. I had come across a method that 
>uses crystal violet to stain the biofilm, extracting it with DMSO, and 
>measuring the absorbance in a spec. It appealed to me because of its 
>simplicity and ease of use. Any objections or cautions about this 
>Thank you in advance for your replies. 
>Mary Pitruzzello 
>pitruzzello at mediaone.net 
>To reply to the group as well as to the originator, make sure that 
>the address biofilms at net.bio.net is included in the "To:" field. 
>See the BIOFILMS homepage at http://www.im.dtu.dk/biofilms for info 
>on how to (un)subscribe and post to the Biofilms newsgroup. 
R.J.C. (Bob) McLean, Ph.D. 
Dept. Biology 
Southwest Texas State University 
601 University Drive 
San Marcos, Tx 78666 
(512)245-3365 phone 
(512)245-8713 FAX 
Email: RM12 at swt.edu 

To reply to the group as well as to the originator, make sure that
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