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Development of X-ray micro-focus computed tomography to image and quantify biofilms in central venous catheter models in vitro

Record type: Article

Bacterial infections of central venous catheters (CVCs) cause much morbidity and mortality, and are usually diagnosed by concordant culture of blood and catheter tip. However, studies suggest that culture often fails to detect biofilm bacteria. This study optimises X-ray micro computed tomography (X-ray µCT) for the quantification and determination of distribution and heterogeneity of biofilms in in vitro central venous catheter (CVC) model systems.

Bacterial culture and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to detect Staphylococcus epidermidis ATCC 35984 biofilms grown on catheters in vitro in both flow and static biofilm models. Alongside this, X-ray µCT techniques were developed in order to detect biofilms inside CVCs. Various contrast agent stains were evaluated using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to further optimise these methods. Catheter material and biofilm were segmented using a semi-automated MATLAB script and quantified using the Avizo Fire software package.

X-ray µCT was capable of distinguishing between the degree of biofilm formation across different segments of a CVC flow model. EDS screening of single and dual compound contrast stains identified 10 nm gold and silver nitrate as the optimum contrast agent for X-ray µCT. This optimised method was then demonstrated to be capable of quantifying biofilms in an in vitro static biofilm formation model, with a strong correlation between biofilm detection via SEM and culture.

X-ray µCT has good potential as a direct, non-invasive, non-destructive technology to image biofilms in CVCs, as well as other in vivo medical components in which biofilms accumulate in concealed areas.

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Niehaus, Wilmari, Howlin, Robert, Johnston, David A., Bull, Daniel, Jones, Gareth L., Calton, Elizabeth, Mavrogordato, Mark, Clarke, Stuart, Thurner, Philipp, Faust, Saul and Stoodley, Paul (2016) Development of X-ray micro-focus computed tomography to image and quantify biofilms in central venous catheter models in vitro Microbiology, 162, pp. 1629-1640. (doi:10.1099/mic.0.000334). (PMID:27384949).

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 5 July 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 July 2016
Published date: September 2016
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Engineering Mats & Surface Engineerg Gp, Bioengineering Group, nCATS Group


Local EPrints ID: 398578
ISSN: 1350-0872
PURE UUID: 4563502e-9a00-4563-ab3a-9653d601c4b6
ORCID for David A. Johnston: ORCID iD
ORCID for Daniel Bull: ORCID iD
ORCID for Stuart Clarke: ORCID iD
ORCID for Saul Faust: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jul 2016 09:21
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:14

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Author: Wilmari Niehaus
Author: Robert Howlin
Author: David A. Johnston ORCID iD
Author: Daniel Bull ORCID iD
Author: Gareth L. Jones
Author: Elizabeth Calton
Author: Mark Mavrogordato
Author: Stuart Clarke ORCID iD
Author: Philipp Thurner
Author: Saul Faust ORCID iD
Author: Paul Stoodley

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