Biofilm: It’s Stranger Than You Think was published for client, Kaivac.
Biofilm is a mystery to many people, including those in the professional cleaning industry. But when it comes to biofilm what we don’t know can cause us a lot of problems.
One of the best ways to define biofilm is the following:
Bioflim is a substance that “houses” a wide variety of germs and bacteria including bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
Houses is the key word here. The bacteria form a home for themselves in a shield covering.
Here are a few more things we should know about these biofilm colonies:
- The film they create acts like a protective shield. It protects the bacteria from heat, cold, ultraviolet light, and antibacterial drugs.
- They thrive in damp areas such as showers, leaking faucets, damp utility rooms, and most specifically in floor mop sinks. These are the sinks used to fill mop buckets. Very often cleaning workers, whether staff or inmates, leave mops in the floor mop sink when their work is completed. Because the mop is damp – as is the sink area – this is a perfect breeding ground for biofilm.
- Older facilities may have more issues with biofilm than newer facilities. This is because older locations may have more tile and grout surfaces, porous surfaces, and floor and wall crevices and openings, often the result of age.
- As we shall discuss further, many types of disinfectants will not “kill” biofilm. The disinfectant cannot penetrate the covering shield. In many cases, the only way disinfectants can eradicate the bacteria is if the protective film has in some way become torn or removed from the surface.
Biofilm microorganisms have been associated with several human diseases, including valve endocarditis – an infection that settles in the heart – and cystic fibrosis – the biofilm protects the bacteria that can cause this disease. They are most frequently found in toilet bowls, shower areas, gym restrooms, damp floors, drains, or other areas that remain moist.
Biofilm is Tough:
The bacteria within biofilm are as much as 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics and disinfectants than bacteria found outside of biofilm.
They’re Found in Disinfectants:
Amazingly, biofilm has even been found in disinfectants, the very cleaning solutions typically used to eradicate them.
A biofilm colony can tell when it is threatened, especially with some type of cleaning solution or disinfectant.
When threatened, cells in the biofilm begin rapidly mutating; the outer layer of the biofilm becomes thicker to protect the germs and bacteria inside.
Surprisingly, biofilm found in the stomach and intestines can help prevent invaders – other types of germs and bacteria – from harming us.
They May Have to Be Electrocuted:
Because biofilm is so tough and hard to remove, when it builds up on medical instruments, sometimes the only way to kill it is using direct current electricity.
They Love Mops:
According to the book Diagnostic Microbiology, they can be found on mops; the moisture on the mop feeds the biofilm and the strings help protect the colony.
They Can Keep a Secret:
It is often very hard to know if biofilm is growing on a mop, in a mop bucket, or even in a disinfectant.
Now that we know some unusual facts about biofilm, we should also know the best way to prevent biofilms from growing and that is prevention. Frequent and effective cleaning and keeping surfaces dry is the safest and healthiest strategy.
More articles about biofilm are found here.
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