Mechanical robustness of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

Oliver Lieleg, Marina Caldara, Regina Baumgärtel, Katharina Ribbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Biofilms grow on various surfaces and in many different environments, a phenomenon that constitutes major problems in industry and medicine. Despite their importance little is known about the viscoelastic properties of biofilms and how these depend on the chemical microenvironment. Here, we find that the mechanical properties of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.a.) biofilms are highly robust towards chemical perturbations. Specifically, we observe that P.a. biofilms are able to fully regain their initial stiffness after yielding is enforced, even in the presence of chemicals. Moreover, only trivalent ions and citric acid significantly affect the biofilm elasticity, the first of which also alters the texture of the material. Finally, our results indicate that biofilm mechanics and bacteria viability inside the biofilm are not necessarily linked which suggests that targeting bacteria alone might not be sufficient for biofilm removal strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3307-3314
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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