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Methods to study microbial adhesion on abiotic surfaces

1 LEPABE—Laboratório de Engenharia de Processos, Ambiente, Biotecnologia e Energia, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, s/n, 4200-465, Porto, Portugal;
2 CEB, Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

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

Microbial biofilms are a matrix of cells and exopolymeric substances attached to a wet and solid surface and are commonly associated to several problems, such as biofouling and corrosion in industries and infectious diseases in urinary catheters and prosthesis. However, these cells may have several benefits in distinct applications, such as wastewater treatment processes, microbial fuel cells for energy production and biosensors. As microbial adhesion is a key step on biofilm formation, it is very important to understand and characterize microbial adhesion to a surface. This study presents an overview of predictive and experimental methods used for the study of bacterial adhesion. Evaluation of surface physicochemical properties have a limited capacity in describing the complex adhesion process. Regarding the experimental methods, there is no standard method or platform available for the study of microbial adhesion and a wide variety of methods, such as colony forming units counting and microscopy techniques, can be applied for quantification and characterization of the adhesion process.
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