Following confirmation of the presence of biofilms in chronic wounds, the term biofilm became a buzzword within the wound healing community. For more than a century pathogens have been successfully isolated and identified from wound specimens using techniques that were devised in the nineteenth century by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Although this approach still provides valuable information with which to help diagnose acute infections and to select appropriate antibiotic therapies, it is evident that those organisms isolated from clinical specimens with the conditions normally used in diagnostic laboratories are mainly in a planktonic form that is unrepresentative of the way in which most microbial species exist naturally. Usually microbial species adhere to each other, as well as to living and non-living surfaces, where they form complex communities surrounded by collectively secreted extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Cells within such aggregations (or biofilms) display varying physiological and metabolic properties that are distinct from those of planktonic cells, and which contribute to their persistence. There are many factors that influence healing in wounds and the discovery of biofilms in chronic wounds has provided new insight into the reasons why. Increased tolerance of biofilms to antimicrobial agents explains the limited efficacy of antimicrobial agents in chronic wounds and illustrates the need to develop new management strategies. This review aims to explain the nature of biofilms, with a view to explaining their impact on wounds.
Journal of Wound Care, 2014, Vol 23, Issue 11, p. 570-82
Anti-Bacterial Agents; Biofilms; Drug Resistance, Bacterial; Humans; Wound Healing; Wound Infection; Wounds and Injuries; Journal Article; Review