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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 47

by Professor L.F. Melo, University of Minho, Braga (Portugal)

The volume with the above title (NATO ASI SERIES E223) deals with `biofilms' or `microbial films', which are communities of microorganisms (bacteria, microalgae, etc.) adhering to solid surfaces, usually within a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances produced by the microorganisms themselves.

Biofilms can be beneficial or detrimental. Examples of the first case are the biofilms used in wastewater treatment, whereby the microorganisms degrade (`eat') pollutant substances. However, the microbial films that grow on the walls of heat exchanger tubes create additional heat transfer and fluid flow resistances. They may also create health problems when they develop on teeth (the `dental plaque'), implants and prosthetic devices (urinary catheters, intrauterine devices, etc:), and on the human lung. The food industry is also affected by the contamination caused by these films which adhere easily to the walls of, for instance, milk containers.

The book reflects the interaction between researchers from various fields, by including: a) fundamental chapters on metabolism, microbial adhesion, process analysis and biofilm modelling; b) applied chapters on the analysis of biofilm behaviour in wastewater treatment, food processing, cooling water systems and medicine. Chapters on prevention and destruction of microbial films, as well as on the laboratory and industrial monitoring techniques used to detect and study biofilms are also included.
Reference books: C381, E223

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