Yielding behaviour of chemically treated Pseudomonas fluorescens biofilms

Samuel G., V Charlton, Saikat Jana, Jinju Chen

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The mechanics of biofilms are intrinsically shaped by their physicochemical environment. By understanding the influence of the extracellular matrix composition, pH and elevated levels of cationic species on the biofilm rheology, novel living materials with tuned properties can be formulated. In this study, we examine the role of a chaotropic agent (urea), two divalent cations and distilled deionized water on the nonlinear viscoelasticity of a model biofilm Pseudomonas fluorescens. The structural breakdown of each biofilm is quantified using tools of non-linear rheology. Our findings reveal that urea induced a softening response, and displayed strain overshoots comparable to distilled deionized water, without altering the microstructural packing fraction and macroscale morphology. The absorption of divalent ferrous and calcium cations into the biofilm matrix resulted in stiffening and a reduction in normalized elastic energy dissipation, accompanied by macroscale morphological wrinkling and moderate increases in the packing fraction. Notably, ferrous ions induced a predominance of rate dependent yielding, whereas the calcium ions resulted in equal contribution from both rate and strain dependent yielding and structural breakdown of the biofilms. Together, these results indicate that strain rate increasingly becomes an important factor controlling biofilm fluidity with cation-induced biofilm stiffening. The finding can help inform effective biofilm removal protocols and in development of bio-inks for additive manufacturing of biofilm derived materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100209
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
Early online date3 Jul 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Jul 2024

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© 2024 The Authors

Data Access Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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