Antibiotic, Antimicrobial, and Biocide Resistance

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The Problem

In a biofilm state, bacteria are typically less susceptible to antibiotics, antimicrobials, and biocides. In some cases, bacteria can be up to 4,000 times more resistant than the same organism in a free-floating state. Comparisons of MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) tests with MBEC (minimum biofilm eradication) tests vividly display the differences in susceptibility from the planktonic to the biofilm state. In fact, using an MIC test in evaluation of what treatments to use against a biofilm infection can inadvertently result in treating the biofilm with sublethal concentrations of antibiotics, thereby increasing the chances of development of resistance.

Claims of microbial resistance therefore must be segregated into 2 components: genetic resistance (genes turned on by the organism that produces factors involved in protecting the organism) and phenotypic resistance (the construction of the organism itself i.e. cell walls and mucosal protection) (Biofilms: A new understanding of these microbial communities is driving a revolution that may transform the science of microbiology)

70% of bacteria causing hospital-based infections are resistant to at least one of the antibiotics used to treat them. More than 2 million patients in the US each year contract an infection as a result of receiving healthcare in a hospital, with 90,000 cases resulting in death.

Innovotech’s Solution

The first step of a solution is therefore to conduct sensitivity testing using the organism in a biofilm state. Only Innovotech technology can conduct this testing in a high-throughput fashion. The most prevalent organisms in microbial and bacterial biofilm infections are Pseudomonas sp., Staphylococcus sp., Streptococcus sp., and many fungi.

Specific diseases include:

  • Cystic Fibrosis lung infections
  • Ventilator acquired pneumonia
  • Burn infections
  • Decubitus ulcer infections
  • Catheter exit site infections
  • Implant joint infections
  • Middle ear infections
  • Surfaces of dairy manufacturing plant
  • Oral biofilms
  • Mold and Mildew
  • Construction
  • Infections
  • Paint

The second step is to recognize that it is unlikely that a single antibiotic will be effective against a biofilm owing to its inherent increased resistance and therefore, at the very least, an approach that incorporates both single and combination antibiotics is required (Biofilm susceptibility to metal toxicity). Again, Innovotech technology allows testing in a high throughput fashion saving both time and expense over other tests.

Testing can be conducted by Innovotech through Innovotech’s contract research unit or, if the client has suitable microbiology and biofilm knowledge, the MBEC Assay® Kit can be purchased (click here to “Order”).
The Calgary Biofilm Device: New technology for rapid determination of antibiotic susceptibilities of bacterial biofilms.
Biofilm bacteria: formation and comparative susceptibility to antibiotics.