In situ Biofilm

01 January 2019 → 31 December 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Microbiome
Project description

Biofilms are-surface associated microbial communities that are highly tolerant against antimicrobials and therefore cause persistent contaminations and infections in industrial and medical sectors. In particular, biofilms formed on medical implants often lead to chronic infection and implant replacement, whereas biofilms in food and other industries can lead to product contamination. This project aims at the development of a novel sensor technology, based on impedance measurement by microelectrode arrays, that allows for in vivo and in situ biofilm detection and monitoring. Recent evidence collected at KU Leuven and Imec suggests that this technology has potential not only to detect biofilms and notify in time that antimicrobial treatment is required, but also to measure biofilm structure, inform on the most

effective type of antimicrobial treatment and monitor the clearance process. Since this technology is based on microelectrodes, costeffective implementation in a broad variety of applications should be feasible. As such, successful development of this technology is anticipated to largely contribute to solving the biofilm problem. The first

project pillar focuses on studying mechanisms by which biofilm formation affects impedance and the application of supervised machine learning to predict effective antimicrobial treatment protocols based on impedance data. The second pillar focuses on sensor optimization and implementation in demonstrator devices. The final pillar aims at

delivering strong proof-of-concept, by applying the technology to in vivo biofilm monitoring on medical implants (rabbit model) and in situ application in food production installations (pilot-scale installations and industrial validation cases). Finally, also the generic potential of the sensor will be evaluated.