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Molecules 2012, 17(8), 9818-9834; doi:10.3390/molecules17089818

Microfluidic Approaches to Bacterial Biofilm Formation

1
School of Mechanical Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 136-713, Korea
2
School of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 136-713, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 May 2012 / Revised: 27 July 2012 / Accepted: 9 August 2012 / Published: 15 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flow Chemistry)
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Abstract

Bacterial biofilms—aggregations of bacterial cells and extracellular polymeric substrates (EPS)—are an important subject of research in the fields of biology and medical science. Under aquatic conditions, bacterial cells form biofilms as a mechanism for improving survival and dispersion. In this review, we discuss bacterial biofilm development as a structurally and dynamically complex biological system and propose microfluidic approaches for the study of bacterial biofilms. Biofilms develop through a series of steps as bacteria interact with their environment. Gene expression and environmental conditions, including surface properties, hydrodynamic conditions, quorum sensing signals, and the characteristics of the medium, can have positive or negative influences on bacterial biofilm formation. The influences of each factor and the combined effects of multiple factors may be addressed using microfluidic approaches, which provide a promising means for controlling the hydrodynamic conditions, establishing stable chemical gradients, performing measurement in a high-throughput manner, providing real-time monitoring, and providing in vivo-like in vitro culture devices. An increased understanding of biofilms derived from microfluidic approaches may be relevant to improving our understanding of the contributions of determinants to bacterial biofilm development.
Keywords: microfluidics; biofilms; bacteria; bacterial biofilm microfluidics; biofilms; bacteria; bacterial biofilm
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kim, J.; Park, H.-D.; Chung, S. Microfluidic Approaches to Bacterial Biofilm Formation. Molecules 2012, 17, 9818-9834.

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