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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26129

Title: Biofilm-derived Planktonic Cell Yield: A Mechanism for Bacterial Proliferation
Authors: Bester, Elanna
Advisor: Wolfaardt, Gideon
Edwards, Elizabeth A.
Department: Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
Keywords: biofilm
Issue Date: 14-Feb-2011
Abstract: The development of biofilms at solid-liquid interfaces has been investigated extensively, whereas the yield of planktonic cells from biofilms has received comparatively little attention. The detachment of single cells from biofilms has been attributed mainly to the erosive action of flowing liquid or the dispersal of cells from within biofilm microcolonies. The result has been an underestimation of the active role that biofilms can play in microbial proliferation through the production and release of planktonic cells to the environment. In this study, the cultivation of Pseudomonas sp. strain CT07 biofilms in conventional flowcells, glass tubes and a novel CO2 evolution measurement system was utilized to show that biofilm-derived planktonic cell yield was initiated within 6 hours of initial surface colonization and increased in conjunction with biofilm development. The magnitude of the yield was influenced by the metabolic activity of the biofilm, which was in turn dependent on environmental conditions, such as carbon availability. The physiologically active region of the biofilm was responsible for the yield of significant numbers of planktonic cells (~107 CFU.cm-2.h-1), whereas a less active biofilm zone was optimized for survival during unfavourable conditions and shown to be responsible for the subsequent re-establishment of biofilm structure, activity and cell yield. Despite the yield of numerically considerable numbers of planktonic cells (~1010 CFU), a carbon balance revealed that the carbon investment required to maintain this yield was insignificant (~1%) compared to the amount of carbon channelled into CO2 production (~54%). Together, these results indicate that biofilm-derived planktonic cell yield represents an efficient proliferation mechanism and support the view that the biofilm lifestyle affords microbes a dual survival-proliferation strategy, where the dominant strategy depends on the prevailing environmental conditions. An alternative model of biofilm development is presented to account for planktonic cell yield during all stages of biofilm development.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26129
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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