Microbial biofilms cause the deterioration of polymeric coatings such as polyurethanes (PUs). In many cases, microbes have been shown to use the PU as a nutrient source. The interaction between biofilms and nutritive substrata is complex, since both the medium and the substratum can provide nutrients that affect biofilm formation and biodeterioration. Historically, studies of PU biodeterioration have monitored the planktonic cells in the medium surrounding the material, not the biofilm. This study monitored planktonic and biofilm cell counts, and biofilm morphology, in long-term growth experiments conducted with Pseudomonas fluorescens under different nutrient conditions. Nutrients affected planktonic and biofilm cell numbers differently, and neither was representative of the system as a whole. Microscopic examination of the biofilm revealed the presence of intracellular storage granules in biofilms grown in M9 but not yeast extract salts medium. These granules are indicative of nutrient limitation and/or entry into stationary phase, which may impact the biodegradative capability of the biofilm.
- phosphate storage
- Pseudomonas fluorescens