Future directions in biofilm research

Jordan, Ryan ryan_j at erc.montana.edu
Sat Aug 29 11:11:50 EST 1998


This is one thread I hope we can keep going, so here's my
contribution...

Why are we in the biofilms business to begin with? To solve problems
that are caused by biofilms (or, more appropriately, to learn to
"control" them). In that light, I'll present two application-oriented
problems that need to be solved. Hopefully, this will be a starting
point to identify appropriate fundamentals in biofilm research that need
to be pursued to contribute to the solution of these problems.

1. Human infection. Biofilms are responsible for urinary tract
infections, ear infections, tooth decay, etc., and quite possibly, play
an important role in heart disease, yada yada yada. Research needs to
*continue* to focus on a) determining why biofilm organisms tend to be
more physiologically resistant to antimicrobial agents, b) design of
antimicrobials that specifically overcomes this resistance potential,
and c) factors that influence the potential for infections.

2. Industrial process fouling. The current paradigm: "Let's periodically
wipe out the biofilms with biocides." The future paradigm: "Let's
prevent biofilm formation in our process system." The future paradigm
will not be accepted until competitive advantage drives it, i.e.,
economics requires it. We also have no idea how to prevent biofilm
growth at the field-scale in industrial process systems.

Hopefully, the research needs that are identified are prioritized in
terms of their ability to solve these and other very difficult,
real-world problems. Furthermore, we can do anything we want in the lab.
But solving the problem in the field (e.g., a human body or industrial
reactor) is a big-league ball game. Thus, fundamentally at least, scale
up issues must remain a high priority.

Ryan Jordan

-----
Ryan N. Jordan
Research Engineer
Center for Biofilm Engineering
Montana State University
366 EPS Bldg. - P.O. Box 173980
Bozeman, MT 59717-3980
406-994-2680
406-994-6098 fax
email: ryan_j at erc.montana.edu
http://www.erc.montana.edu/ 


-----
Ryan N. Jordan
Research Engineer
Center for Biofilm Engineering
Montana State University
366 EPS Bldg. - P.O. Box 173980
Bozeman, MT 59717-3980
406-994-2680
406-994-6098 fax
email: ryan_j at erc.montana.edu
http://www.erc.montana.edu/ 



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