Multi-depth valved microfluidics for biofilm segmentation
In aquatic environments, microorganisms tend to form biofilms on surfaces to protect them from harsh conditions. The biofilms then accumulate into multilayered mat-like structures. In this study, we evaluated the effects of the hydrodynamic conditions on the ecology of biofilms produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14). In microfluidic channels, we found that the development of biofilms was regulated by hydrodynamic conditions, but the developed biofilms also changed flow velocity by narrowing flow width. The coupled growing conditions were simplified by a new concept of consequent variables, and the dimensionless biofilm development (Ab/h(2) & Ab/w(cs)(2)) was successfully expressed by the Reynolds number (Re) and the dimension of the channel (r). At low Re, higher flow rates encouraged growth of biofilms, while higher flow rates with high Re suppressed growth of biofilms. These results provide a simple model as a theoretical basis for understanding development of biofilms in microfluidic channels.