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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00916

Role of dilution rate and nutrient availability in the formation of microbial biofilms

  • 1Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 2Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada

We revisited the mathematical model of chemostat and examined consequences of considerably decreasing the concentration of limiting nutrient in the inflow for the growth of both the planktonic and biofilm cells in the chemostat tank (fermenter). The model predicts a substantially lower steady-state biomass of planktonic cells in response to decreasing inflowing nutrient concentration. Contrarily, the steady-state concentration of nutrient inside the fermenter is expected to remain the same, as long as the inflowing concentration does not fall below its value. That allows the biofilm cells to grow at a rate regulated only by the exchange rate of medium (dilution rate). This conclusion is supported by previously published data on pure and mixed cultures and by a current experiment with Enterococcus faecalis.

Keywords: Biofilms, chemostat, Mathematical Models, Dilution rate, nutrient availability, confocal microscopy, image analysis

Received: 04 Dec 2018; Accepted: 10 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Sophie Rabouille, UMR7621 Laboratoire d'océanographie microbienne (LOMIC), France

Reviewed by:

Otini Kroukamp, Ryerson University, Canada
Shivani Kundra, University of Florida, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Legner, McMillen and Cvitkovitch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Milos Legner, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, M5G 1G6, Ontario, Canada,