For investigating the influence of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) on biofilm properties, artificial models of defined composition and structure can be very helpful. Different immobilised cell systems can be useful in the fitting of experimental results. Two different types of artificial EPS matrix model were developed earlier. Homogeneous agarose beads (50-500 μm diameter) and porous beads (260 μm mean diameter) containing pores with diameters from 10 to 80 μm (28 μm on average), allowed the embedding of cells, particles and typical EPS matrix components such as proteins and polysaccharides. In this paper, some physico-chemical properties of the artificial EPS matrices were described and compared with results known from natural EPS. The stability of the artificial matrix polymer against solution in the aqueous medium was studied in batch experiments. The water binding and water retaining capabilities of the EPS models were investigated by drying and re-swelling experiments. The simulation of protective effects of the artificial EPS matrix against toxic substances like biocides in comparison to such known protective effects of the EPS of native biofilms were proved by the application of sodium hypochlorite (0.5 mg/l, 30 min) and subsequent microscopic investigation of the cell population after LIVE/DEAD staining (Molecular Probes).
Agarose hydrogels as EPS models
M. Strathmann, T. Griebe, H.-C. Flemming; Agarose hydrogels as EPS models. Water Sci Technol 1 March 2001; 43 (6): 169–175. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2001.0367
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