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      Bacterial Biofilm Growth on 3D-Printed Materials


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          Recent advances in 3D printing have led to a rise in the use of 3D printed materials in prosthetics and external medical devices. These devices, while inexpensive, have not been adequately studied for their ability to resist biofouling and biofilm buildup. Bacterial biofilms are a major cause of biofouling in the medical field and, therefore, hospital-acquired, and medical device infections. These surface-attached bacteria are highly recalcitrant to conventional antimicrobial agents and result in chronic infections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and medical officials have considered 3D printed medical devices as alternatives to conventional devices, due to manufacturing shortages. This abundant use of 3D printed devices in the medical fields warrants studies to assess the ability of different microorganisms to attach and colonize to such surfaces. In this study, we describe methods to determine bacterial biofouling and biofilm formation on 3D printed materials. We explored the biofilm-forming ability of multiple opportunistic pathogens commonly found on the human body including Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus to colonize eight commonly used polylactic acid (PLA) polymers. Biofilm quantification, surface topography, digital optical microscopy, and 3D projections were employed to better understand the bacterial attachment to 3D printed surfaces. We found that biofilm formation depends on surface structure, hydrophobicity, and that there was a wide range of antimicrobial properties among the tested polymers. We compared our tested materials with commercially available antimicrobial PLA polymers.

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          Most cited references66

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          Additive manufacturing (3D printing): A review of materials, methods, applications and challenges

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            Microbial biofilms.

            Direct observations have clearly shown that biofilm bacteria predominate, numerically and metabolically, in virtually all nutrient-sufficient ecosystems. Therefore, these sessile organisms predominate in most of the environmental, industrial, and medical problems and processes of interest to microbiologists. If biofilm bacteria were simply planktonic cells that had adhered to a surface, this revelation would be unimportant, but they are demonstrably and profoundly different. We first noted that biofilm cells are at least 500 times more resistant to antibacterial agents. Now we have discovered that adhesion triggers the expression of a sigma factor that derepresses a large number of genes so that biofilm cells are clearly phenotypically distinct from their planktonic counterparts. Each biofilm bacterium lives in a customized microniche in a complex microbial community that has primitive homeostasis, a primitive circulatory system, and metabolic cooperativity, and each of these sessile cells reacts to its special environment so that it differs fundamentally from a planktonic cell of the same species.
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              Biofilms: Microbial Life on Surfaces

              Microorganisms attach to surfaces and develop biofilms. Biofilm-associated cells can be differentiated from their suspended counterparts by generation of an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix, reduced growth rates, and the up- and down- regulation of specific genes. Attachment is a complex process regulated by diverse characteristics of the growth medium, substratum, and cell surface. An established biofilm structure comprises microbial cells and EPS, has a defined architecture, and provides an optimal environment for the exchange of genetic material between cells. Cells may also communicate via quorum sensing, which may in turn affect biofilm processes such as detachment. Biofilms have great importance for public health because of their role in certain infectious diseases and importance in a variety of device-related infections. A greater understanding of biofilm processes should lead to novel, effective control strategies for biofilm control and a resulting improvement in patient management.

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                28 May 2021
                : 12
                : 646303
                [1] 1Department of Chemistry, Drexel University , Philadelphia, PA, United States
                [2] 2Center for Advanced Microbial Processing and Center for Surgical Infections and Biofilms, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Department of Microbiology and Immunology , Philadelphia, PA, United States
                [3] 3Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine , Philadelphia, PA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mark Smeltzer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States

                Reviewed by: Devendra Dusane, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, United States; Lichong Xu, Pennsylvania State University, United States

                *Correspondence: Jarosław E. Król, jek322@ 123456drexel.edu

                These authors have contributed equally to this work

                This article was submitted to Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2021 Hall, Palmer, Ji, Ehrlich and Król.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 26 December 2020
                : 04 May 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 67, Pages: 13, Words: 0
                Funded by: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 10.13039/100000055
                Original Research

                Microbiology & Virology
                biofilm,antimicrobial properties,3d printing,bacterial infections,3d structures,surface topology,pla polymer


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