Consider the following statements:
- Biofilms can form on medical implants within human tissues.
- Biofilms can form on food and food processing surfaces.
- Biofilms can exhibit antibiotic resistance.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2022 Prelims]
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Biofilms are a collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces. Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria, fungi and protists.
- Biofilms are ubiquitous and they form on virtually all surfaces immersed in natural aqueous environment, e.g., water pipes, living tissue, tooth surface, implanted medical devices, dental implants, etc. Statement 1 is correct.
- Diverse microorganisms are able to grow on food matrixes and along food industry infrastructures. Thus biofilm can form on food and food processing surfaces. For example escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica etc. Salmonella enterica contaminates a food pipeline biofilm, may induce massive outbreaks and even death in children and elderly. Statement 2 is correct.
- A biofilm is a structured consortium of bacteria embedded in a self-produced polymer matrix consisting of polysaccharide, protein and DNA. Bacterial biofilms show increased tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectant chemicals as well as resisting phagocytosis and other components of the body’s defence system. Thus they cause chronic infections. Statement 3 is correct.