Biofilms: What you should know.

Biofilms are everywhere

Well hidden or sometimes visible, always disgusting, biofilms, as so well described by my colleague Rémi Charlebois, are defined as follows:

Biofilm is an aggregation of microbial cells, surrounded by a protective layer of extracellular polymeric matrix, which attaches itself to any surface found in the hospital environment and becomes a source of contamination. Formation of complex, multicellular communities by microorganisms is a natural phenomenon which helps bacteria or fungi to survive environmental stress such as cleaning and disinfection.

Warning: Graphic Content Ahead

A Biofilm looks like this:

Kitchen Drain

biofilms-drain-cuisine

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Sink strainer

biofilm-bouchon-evier

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Showerhead

biofilm-pommeau-douche

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

Toilet Bowl

biofilm-cuve-toilette

Source: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/content/household-biofilms

How to remove biofilms

Here are 3 methods to eliminate biofilm:

Replace equipment

This mehode is somewhat drastic, probably very expensive certainly mostly impractical. Some industries still proceed that way in 2016. I must say that in some cases it may be the only and best solution. For example pipe sections, filters, etc.

Strong acids and bases

Hydrochloric or Peracetic acids or strong bases such as caustic are sometimes used alternatively. However, corrosivity and danger of these chemicals can damage surfaces, individual protection equipment, storage and handling can also be a challenge . Furthermore, there is always the workplace hazards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.