Microfluidic bioanalytical flow cells for biofilm studies: a review†
Bacterial biofilms are among the oldest and most prevalent multicellular life forms on Earth and are increasingly relevant in research areas related to industrial fouling, medicine and biotechnology. The main hurdles to obtaining definitive experimental results include time-varying biofilm properties, structural and chemical heterogeneity, and especially their strong sensitivity to environmental cues. Therefore, in addition to judicious choice of measurement tools, a well-designed biofilm study requires strict control over experimental conditions, more so than most chemical studies. Due to excellent control over a host of physiochemical parameters, microfluidic flow cells have become indispensable in microbiological studies. Not surprisingly, the number of lab-on-chip studies focusing on biofilms and other microbiological systems with expanded analytical capabilities has expanded rapidly in the past decade. In this paper, we comprehensively review the current state of microfluidic bioanalytical research applied to bacterial biofilms and offer a perspective on new approaches that are expected to drive continued advances in this field.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles