Microbial biofilm in human health - an updated theoretical and practical insight

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The term biofilm designates an aggregate of microorganisms belonging to one or more species which adhere to various surfaces but also to each another. These microbial communities are included and interconnected within an organic structure known as slime, composed of protein substances, polysaccharides, and DNA.

The Center for Disease prevention and control considers infections with bacteria in biofilms among the 7 most important challenges which must be overcome in order to improve the safety of health services. The risk of microbial biofilm development exists for a long list of medical devices and equipment, as well as in certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis. An aggravating aspect is represented by the almost 1,000 times higher antimicrobial resistance of bacteria growing and multiplying within biofilms. Thus, in case of biofilm-infected medical devices, the resistance to antimicrobial treatments requires the removal of the device which essentially means the failure of the exploratory or therapeutic intervention in question.

The role of microbial biofilms in medical pathology is a subject that raises interest for both researchers and clinicians in order to establish new methods for prevention and treatment of biofilms. This paper is intended as an overview in the management of microbial biofilms, presenting future insights, with technological progress in microscopy, molecular genetics, and genome analysis. Therefore the present paper will focus on describing the mechanisms involved in biofilm development, biofilm related infections, methods of detection and quantification of microbial communities and therapeutical approaches.

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