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Chemicals / Maintenance
May 2014 Feature 4

Biofilm Myths And Facts

Exploring the science behind an unpleasant problem caused by poor cleaning.

May 05, 2014
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Defining A Biofilm

According to the Healthy Facilities Institute:

“Biofilms are around us everywhere in our rooms, offices and even in our own bodies. By scientific definition, a biofilm is microbes (bacteria, algae, yeast or fungi, protozoa and viruses, hereafter called ‘bugs’) that grow collectively in adhesive polymers (mainly extracellular polymeric substances) on live or non-live surfaces. You may have already seen different forms of biofilms, for example, green coatings on rocks, black spots on the wall in buildings and white films on the top of juices in open glasses left standing for several days. Sometimes you can also feel biofilms as slimy coatings on the inner surfaces of faucets and slippery materials on the floor in a shower room. Most times, however, you cannot see biofilm directly with your naked eyes. On a clean-looking surface, like a stainless steel counter top in a kitchen, the stainless steel is shining but very likely not biofilm free. Using different microscopes, scientists can see them and you may find dispersed cell aggregates in young biofilms and sometimes find peaks, valleys, caves or tunnel-like structures in mature biofilms.”

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