The polymicrobial nature of biofilm infection


Corresponding author: R. Wolcott, Wound Care Center, Wound Care, Lubbock, TX, USA


Clin Microbiol Infect


The model of biofilm infection was first proposed over a decade ago. Recent scientific advances have added much to our understanding of biofilms, usually polymicrobial communities, which are commonly associated with chronic infection. Metagenomics has demonstrated that bacteria pursuing a biofilm strategy possess many mechanisms for encouraging diversity. By including multiple bacterial and/or fungal species in a single community, biofilms obtain numerous advantages, such as passive resistance, metabolic cooperation, byproduct influence, quorum sensing systems, an enlarged gene pool with more efficient DNA sharing, and many other synergies, which give them a competitive advantage. Routine clinical cultures are ill-suited for evaluating polymicrobial infections. DNA methods utilizing PCR methods, PCR/mass spectroscopy and sequencing have demonstrated their ability to identify microorganisms and quantitate their contribution to biofilms in clinical infections. A more robust model of biofilm infection along with more accurate diagnosis is rapidly translating into improved clinical outcomes.