Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This chapter briefly describes 2 methods used to investigate microbial interactions in vitro, continuous culture chemostat systems, and flow cells. Biofilms form in each of the 2 models that can be used to identify mechanisms of inter-species and inter-generic cooperation among micro- organisms applicable to polymicrobial diseases. Chemostat studies can be used to assess the responses of steady state cultures to stresses applied by the experimenter. The steady state can be easily perturbed and allows unequivocal data on the effect of any perturbation. Flow cells offer additional advantages, and the effects of treatment on biofilms can be visually assessed by time-resolved, nondestructive means or measured in sampled, effluent waste media. Both of these systems have identified synergistic and mutualistic interactions among microorganisms resulting in unique mechanisms of attachment and metabolic interdependence. These methods are rapidly gaining acceptance and are used to study biofilm diseases, particularly the interactions among members of the resident flora, factors involved in the transition of the biofilm from a commensal to a pathogenic relationship with the host, and the mode of action of antimicrobials.