The overall goal is to understand the mechanisms of biofilm formation by various bacteria and to develop strategies to inhibit attachment and biofilm formation. In addition, methods and agents for inactivating undesirable organisms will be developed.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Bacteria can attach to surfaces and cause undesirable outcomes. In food processing environments, for example, they can contaminate food and cause food spoilage or foodborne diseases. We will determine the mechanisms of bacterial attachment and develop strategies for control.
APPROACH: Biofilms will be developed in wells of microtiter plates or on small pieces of materials (e.g., stainless steel, rubber, plastics) commonly used in food processing environments or other areas of concern. After appropriate incubation times, biofilms will be evaluated by a variety of methods, including total and viable counts, fluorescence, and scanning and atomic force microscopy. Organisms used will include both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria relevant to the environment under study. When necessary, mutations in particular genes will be generated to determine if those genes play a role in biofilm formation. For bacterial inactivation and generation of surfaces that can inhibit biofilm formation, various methods including cold plasma technologies will be employed. Antibacterial agents will also be incorporated into different materials.