Microbial biofilms are inherently heterogeneous communities, both structurally and functionally. Bacterial life is governed at micro-scales, dominated by fast diffusion and flow at low Reynolds numbers, where viscous forces are dominant. Also, the initial phases of biofilm development are tightly correlated to their microenvironments.
The heterogeneous nature of biofilms requires precise tools and procedures to allow for the quantification of their behaviour at the appropriate resolutions and at low background noise. However, traditional microbiology methods, such as agar plates and microtitre trays are limited to non-flow environments that biofilms rarely encounter in nature.
SCELSE has developed an advanced flow cell system, fabricated by micro-machining processes optimised for precision and reproducibility, for the real-time study of biofilm behaviour under well-controlled flow conditions. This approach provides the required reproducibility and high precision to address questions on the importance of microscale heterogeneity during the initial development of biofilm and subsequent dispersal.