Thermal shock susceptibility and regrowth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms.

TitleThermal shock susceptibility and regrowth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRicker E.B., Aljaafari H.A.S., Bader T.M., Hundley B.S., Nuxoll E
JournalInt J Hyperthermia
Date PublishedMarch 2018

Biofilms on implanted medical devices cause thousands of patients each year to undergo multiple surgeries to remove and replace the implant, driving billions of dollars in increased health care costs due to the lack of viable treatment options for in situ biofilm eradication. Remotely activated localised heating is under investigation to mitigate these biofilms; however, little is known about the temperatures required to kill the biofilms. To better understand the required parameters this study investigated the thermal susceptibility of biofilms as a function of their fluidic and chemical environment during growth, as well as their propensity for regrowth following thermal shock. Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms were cultured in shaker plate fluidic conditions in four different growth media, then thermally shocked at various temperatures and exposure times. Biofilms were re-incubated to determine their regrowth potential following thermal shocks of various intensities. Results indicate that growth media has little impact on thermal susceptibility, while fluidic conditions strongly influence susceptibility to modest thermal shocks. This effect disappears, however, with increasingly aggressive shocks, reducing biofilm populations by up to 5 orders of magnitude. Regrowth studies indicate a critical post-shock bacterial loading (∼103 CFU/cm2) below which the biofilms were no longer viable, while biofilms above that loading slowly regrew to their previous population density.