Biofilms are the predominant mode of microbial growth and it is now fully accepted that a
majority of infections in humans are associated with a biofilm etiology. Biofilms are defined as attached
and structured microbial communities surrounded by a protective exopolymeric matrix. Importantly,
sessile microorganisms growing within a biofilm are highly resistant to antimicrobial agents.
Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new and improved anti-biofilm therapies. Unfortunately, most
of the current techniques for in-vitro biofilm formation are not compatible with high throughput screening
techniques that can speed up discovery of new drugs with anti-biofilm activity. To try to overcome
this major impediment, our group has developed a novel technique consisting of micro-scale culture of
microbial biofilms on a microarray platform. Using this technique, hundreds to thousands of microbial
biofilms, each with a volume of approximately 30-50 nanolitres, can be simultaneously formed on a
standard microscope slide. Despite more than three orders of magnitude of miniaturization over conventional
biofilms, these nanobiofilms display similar growth, structural and phenotypic properties,
including antibiotic drug resistance. These nanobiofilm chips are amenable to automation, drastically
reducing assay volume and costs. This technique platform allows for true high-throughput screening in
search for new anti-biofilm drugs.
Keywords: biofilms, microarray, biofilm chip, microscale culture, high throughput screening, drug development.
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