Biofilms and industry
Biofilms are responsible for billions of dollars in lost industrial productivity and both product and capital equipment damage each year. For example, biofilms are notorious for causing pipe plugging, corrosion and water contamination.
Biofilm contamination and fouling occurs in nearly every industrial water-based process, including water treatment and distribution, pulp & paper manufacturing, and the operation of cooling towers.
Biofilms and biotechnology
Some reactors designed to promote biofilm growth are very effective for treating environmental wastes such as sewage, industrial waste streams, or contaminated groundwater.
Biofilms can be used to produce a wide variety of biochemicals that are then purified and utilized for public good, including medicines, food additives, or chemical additives for cleaning products.
Biofilms and the environment
Biofilms attached to particles of contaminated soils and aquatic sediments help degrade soil-bound contaminants occuring from accidental chemical releases into the environment. Biofilms attached to the plant roots of some crops help cycle nutrients to and from the plant, resulting in increased agricultural productivity.
International research is currently being undertaken to combat the effects of biofilms. Researchers and scientists keep themselves current by attending conferences and taking up research placements all over the world. It is recommended that all scientists traveling overseas for research purposes have adequate medical insurance. Take a look at this link to find out more about current research into biofilms and also visit The Centre for Biofilm Engineering for extra information.