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11 Nov 2022

Biofilm, the survival strategy of microorganisms

Biofilm development is a common way of the growth of microorganisms in nature. It is currently considered that under suitable...

Biofilm, the survival strategy of microorganisms

Biofilm development is a common way of the growth of microorganisms in nature. It is currently considered that under suitable environmental conditions, most microorganisms can form it.

What are biofilms?

  • Complex communities of microorganisms
  • They grow attached to an inert or living surface

Its presence is very common in water distribution systems in poultry farms. Since these formations can contain pathogenic microorganisms and have a greater resistance to disinfection, the chances of contamination of the water are increased, and this is a vector of transmission of pathologies, which is why it is considered that the presence of biofilms in pipe surfaces constitute an obvious risk to the health of our birds.

In addition to the risk of contamination, its development can interfere with different drug treatment supply processes and clog pipes and teats.

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Biofilm development
Biofilm development is a common way of the growth of bacteria in nature. It is currently considered that under suitable environmental conditions, most microorganisms can form it.

The process of biofilm formation, adherence, maturation, dispersion and recovery, barely develops in 5 days

Reversible adherence of bacteria to the surface. A weak union of the bacteria with the substrate occurs in just 1 minute.

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Irreversible adhesion to the surface, with an initial stage of maturation with growth and division of the microorganism, a subsequent stage of production of the exopolymer -EPS- and the final development of the colony with a dispersion of colonizing cells. Irreversible bonds need to form between 20 minutes and 4 hours.

Growth and maturation. After adhesion and the initial maturation stage with growth and division, the resulting bacterial cells develop around the attachment site, forming a microcolony. An organized colony will grow if conditions are suitable for sufficient biofilm growth. It adapts to nutrients, oxygen, and population changes throughout its maturation stage. It is estimated that the development of this phase is 2 to 4 days.

Spread of colonizing cells. Finally, some bacteria from the biofilm matrix are released from it to be able to colonize new surfaces, closing or starting the cycle.

Survival strategy

The formation of biofilms is an adaptive [register] strategy of microorganisms. Its growth increases the survival capacity of bacteria. Circumstances that may increase your survival capabilities are described below:

Control and elimination of biofilms

Biofilm formation is a survival strategy for microorganisms.

This adaptation to the environment increases the chances of survival. It involves the appearance of complex structures with interrelationships between their individuals, "bacteria," which make it difficult to control and eliminate them, making the usual methods (biocides, antibiotics...) ineffective.

Despite conventional cleaning programs, adhering bacteria can survive and grow on the surfaces of our farm's water distribution systems. Furthermore, there is evidence that adhered bacteria are much more resistant to biocides than those in suspension. This fact is due to the shield formed by biofilms of different species of microorganisms and the large production of extracellular polymeric substances.

The elimination of biofilm in the drinking water pipes in poultry farms is a complex and demanding task, which can be complicated if an adequate protocol is not followed, both in the presence of animals and in the sanitary vacuum.

Alkali cleaning has been found to be more effective than acid cleaning in removing biofilm.

Conclusions
It should never be considered that the quality of the water introduced into a supply system remains unchanged until it reaches the point of consumption.

THE ACTION OF THE BIOFILM PRESENT ON THE WALLS OF THE PIPES PRODUCES

1. deterioration of water quality

2. alters its taste and smell

3. increases its turbidity

4. affects the microbiological quality.

THE BACTERIAL FILM FORMED ON THE WALLS OF THE PIPES CAN

1. reduce their hydraulic capacity

2. accelerate its corrosion

3. hinder the maintenance of a residual concentration of disinfectant and the administration of antibiotic treatments

4. be a vector of disease transmission.

The hygienic design of water distribution systems is the best preventive measure for the control and elimination of biofilm, favoring its NO formation and facilitating the system's hygienic-sanitary maintenance.

Various studies have shown that bacteria adhered to surfaces show greater resistance to disinfecting agents and adverse environmental conditions.

The control and elimination of biofilms from the water distribution system of our poultry farm must be a critical control point.

Implementing an adequate hygienic-sanitary maintenance protocol for pipes with products authorized for such use, both in the presence of animals and in a sanitary vacuum, is the appropriate tool.

It may interest you: Cleaning water lines essential in bird health optimization

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