International Microbiology, Vol 16, No 3 (2013)

A modular reactor to simulate biofilm development in orthopedic materials

Joana Barros, Liliana Grenho, Cândida M. Manuel, Carla Ferreira, Luís F. Melo, Olga C. Nunes, Fernando J. Monteiro, Maria P. Ferraz


Surfaces of medical implants are generally designed to encourage soft- and/or hard-tissue adherence, eventually leading to tissue- or osseo-integration. Unfortunately, this feature may also encourage bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation. To understand the mechanisms of bone tissue infection associated with contaminated biomaterials, a detailed understanding of bacterial adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation on biomaterial surfaces is needed. In this study, a continuous-flow modular reactor composed of several modular units placed in parallel was designed to evaluate the activity of circulating bacterial suspensions and thus their predilection for biofilm formation during 72 h of incubation. Hydroxyapatite discs were placed in each modular unit and then removed at fixed times to quantify biofilm accumulation. Biofilm formation on each replicate of material, unchanged in structure, morphology, or cell density, was reproducibly observed. The modular reactor therefore proved to be a useful tool for following mature biofilm formation on different surfaces and under conditions similar to those prevailing near human-bone implants. [Int Microbiol 2013; 16(3):191-198]

Keywords: orthopedic materials · orthopedic conditions · modular reactors · continuous flow · biomaterials · biofilm formation

Full Text: PDF

Sello de Calidad FECYT



5-year Impact Factor of International Microbiology is 2,10.

The journal is covered in several leading abstracting and indexing databases, including the following ones: AFSA Marine Biotechnology Abstracts; Biological Abstracts; Biotechnology Research Abstracts; BIOSIS Previews; CAB Abstracts; Chemical Abstracts; Current Contents–Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences; EBSCO; Embase; Food Science and Technology Abstracts; Google Scholar; IEDCYT; IBECS; Latíndex; MedBioWorld; PubMed; SciELO-Spain; Science Citation Index Expanded; Scopus


Creative Commons License

This work, including photographs and other illustrations, unless the contrary is indicated, is subject to an Attributions–Non-Commercial–ShareAlike 3.0 Creative Commons License, the full text of which can be consulted at You are free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work provided that the author is credited and reuse of the material is restricted to non-commercial purposes only and that if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. 


Copyright ® 2013 by Spanish Society for Microbiology (SEM)