Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a potential new way to eliminate biofilms to reduce the number of hospital-borne infections.
Biofilms are a group of microorganisms that stick to a surface. Over time, the cells in the biofilm can grow and cause chronic infections and can even become resistant to antibiotics.
The researchers discovered that for the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa to form a biofilm, they have to sense that they are on a surface. Pseudomonas, the bacteria that are present with biofilm infections, are able to detect mechanical shear. Mechanical shear is a stretching that occurs when bacterium is attached to a surface with liquid that is moving or pulling itself along surrounding the surface. Once it detects that it’s on a surface, it starts to form biofilm.