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Formation, architecture and functionality of microbial biofilms in the food industry

Whitehead, KA and Verran, J (2015) Formation, architecture and functionality of microbial biofilms in the food industry. Current Opinion in Food Science, 2. pp. 84-91. ISSN 2214-7993

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Abstract

Recent publications on biofilm formation, architecture and function were reviewed. Biofilm formation begins with organic material, then cell conditioning of a surface. Environmental conditions and microorganisms then influence the establishment of the biofilm architecture. This in turn supports the function of the biofilm which enhances microbial survival, reproduction and contamination of new areas. In the food industry, ‘true’ biofilms are usually found on closed surfaces such as pipe works where liquid flows over a solid surface. On open surfaces, fouling will affect microbial retention, survival and transfer potential but is less likely to support the development of a true biofilm. Each aspect of biofilm formation is complex with a myriad of influencing factors, which we are only just beginning to elucidate. Much more research needs to be carried out in all aspects of these areas to understand these elegant biofilm and fouling systems if they are ever to be controlled.

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