State of Infection
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Bacterial biofilms form a highly dense network of bacterial cells. Their heterogeneous, yet coordinated, structure fortifies them against various forms of antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic resistance is relevant for example in Staphylococcus epidermidis bacterial biofilms which contribute to over 70% of hospital related catheter infections. The image was taken with a scanning electron microscope to show the presence of cellular “voids” near the edge of the biofilm-substrate interface. Nutrients, antibiotics, and other fluids were administered to the biofilm where they were transported through various channels and voids that exist throughout its structure. With additional techniques like imaging mass spectrometry, antibiotic distribution can be characterized to further our limited understanding of antibiotic diffusion and resistance in biofilms. This image reinforces the results seen in mass spectrometry that antibiotics may be “trapped” or “localized” within the biofilm volume.