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Surface modification of materials to encourage beneficial biofilm formation

1 School of Science, Monash University, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway 46150, Selangor, Malaysia;
2 School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth 6102, Western Australia

Special Issue: Biofilm engineering - Harnessing the power of beneficial biofilms

Biofilms are communities of sessile microorganisms that grow and produce extrapolymeric substances on an abiotic or biotic surface. Although biofilms are often associated with negative impacts, the role of beneficial biofilms is wide and include applications in bioremediation, wastewater treatment and microbial fuel cells. Microbial adhesion to a surface, which is highly dependent on the physicochemical properties of the cells and surfaces, is an essential step in biofilm formation. Surface modification therefore represents an important way to modulate microbial attachment and ultimately biofilm formation by microorganisms. In this review different surface modification processes such as organosilane surface modification, plasma treatment, and chemical modification of carbon nanotubes, electro-oxidation and covalent-immobilization with neutral red and methylene blue molecules are outlined. The effectiveness of these modifications and their industrial applications are also discussed. There is inadequate literature on surface modification as a process to enhance beneficial biofilm formation. These methods need to be safe, economically viable, scalable and environmental friendly and their potential to fulfil these criteria for many applications has yet to be determined.
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