Biofilms: Microbial lifestyles of clinical relevance
Within a clinical environment, biofilms are believed to be responsible for over 65% of hospital-acquired infections, which often originate from biomaterial surfaces of medical devices. This webinar will focus on our understanding of biofilms in several infections including, oral candidiasis.Microorganisms have historically been analysed as single species cultures in liquid media. However, it is now recognised the majority of microorganisms exist in complex mixed species communities, often attached to a solid matrix and encased in an extracellular polymeric substance(s)(EPS) produced by the microorganisms themselves. Such a lifestyle is referred to as a ‘biofilm’ and is distinct from the ‘free-living’ or planktonic growth that has traditionally been examined. Biofilms are ubiquitous, and are readily found in environmental, industrial and medical settings. Within a clinical environment, biofilms are believed to be responsible for over 65% of hos-pital-acquired infections, which often originate from biomaterial surfaces of medical devices. Examples include devices used to improve airway management such as endotracheal and tracheostomy tubes, urinary tract and central venous catheters, oral prostheses, artificial heart valves and prosthetic joints. Often the device provides a portal of entry for the organism into the body thereby facilitating infection in a patient who is often already in a compromised state. Even in situations where infection does not follow, failure of the medical device can occur resulting in removal and replacement of the device and an extended and costly stay of the patient in the hospital. The problem is further exacerbated by the observation that biofilms generally exhibit elevated resistance to host defences and administered antimicrobials. The webinar will focus on our understanding of biofilms in several infections including, oral candidosis, ventilator associated pneumonia, and catheter asso-ciated urinary tract infection. Aspects of research performed at the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University in these areas will also be included.
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