High frequency ultrasound imaging of a single-species biofilm
Objective: This study evaluated the feasibility of a high frequency ultrasound scan to examine the 3D morphology of Streptococcus mutans biofilms grown in vitro. Methods: Six 2-day S. mutans biofilms and six 7-day biofilms were grown on tissue culture membranes and on bovine dentine discs. A sterile growth medium on the membrane and disc were used as controls. Surfaces were rinsed and then immersed in sterile saline. High-frequency ultrasound imaging system was used to scan these surfaces at 55 MHz, and a computer program calculated the average thickness of the biofilm layer from the 3D images. Results: 3D pictures of the biofilm layers were obtained. Different cross-sections and plains are easily demonstrated. The average thickness of the 7-day biofilm was significantly bigger than the 2-day on both the membranes and dentinal discs. No structures were observed on the sterile membrane or disc. Conclusion: Three-dimensional structural imaging in situ is possible without damaging the biofilm layer in a quick and easy manner and can therefore be used to evaluate biofilms longitudinally as a function of time.