The use of atomic force microscopy for studying interactions of bacterial biofilms with surfaces

Iwona B Beech, James R Smith, Andrew A Steele, Ian Penegar, Sheelagh A Campbell
  • Colloids and Surfaces B Biointerfaces, February 2002, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/s0927-7765(01)00233-8

Use of AFM for investigating effects of biofilms on underlying metal surfaces

Photo by Zsolt Palatinus on Unsplash

Photo by Zsolt Palatinus on Unsplash

What is it about?

Bacterial biofilms, whether grown in the laboratory or in the natural environment, have been widely studied using a variety of microscopy techniques. The majority of the methods, however, are qualitative, and with the exception of scanning electron microscopy, do not provide information on the effect biofilms have on the underlying surfaces. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has proven to be a powerful tool for characterising, both qualitatively and quantitatively, aspects of biofilm-underlying surface interactions. This paper provides an overview of the application of AFM for the investigation of bacterial biofilms focusing on specific studies related to metallic surfaces, such as stainless steel and copper alloys in freshwater and marine environments.

Why is it important?

Understanding the nature of bacterial biofilms and how they interact and grow on surfaces is essential for protecting the underlying materials. Fields include corrosion protection of metals in marine environments, biodegradation of polymers and dental materials.


Dr James R Smith
University of Portsmouth

A free post-print version of the paper will be available here shortly in the Resources section (right-hand-side pamel).

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr James R Smith