Quartz Crystal Microbalance for Monitoring Biofilm Growth and Removal

Monitoring of bacterial biofilm growth is of significant interest in the medical community as it may hold the key to treating and preventing a wide variety of infectious human diseases. The QCM-D offers a reliable measurement of biofilm growth and removal in real-time. In this application, bacteria were loaded inside the QCM-D to monitor the bacteria adhere and grow on a gold-plated quartz sensor. This was conducted in both stagnant and laminar flow regimes. The removal of the biofilms was measured in real-time by adding a cleaning solution. The QCM-D is a unique platform for monitoring biofilm growth and studying the effectiveness of chemicals as biofilm removal agents. 

QCM-D measurement of bacterial cell deposition

QCM-D measurement of frequency (blue) and damping (red) traces of bacterial cell deposition. After a stable baseline for the growth media is recorded, these P. aeruginosa bacterial cells were added. It takes approximately one hour to adhere to the gold surface and reach equilibrium.

QCM-D tracing the bacterial cell removal

QCM-D Frequency (blue) and Damping (red) traces the bacterial cell removal. After five hours of stagnant growth, fresh LB growth media is introduced at 10um/min. After a total of 24 hours, a 1% SDS solution is added to remove the cells from the sensor surface. The response can be used to quantify the surfactant’s effectiveness for bacterial removal.

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