Microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria are omnipresent in nature. They play an essential role in natural material cycles and are thus of elementary importance for the continued existence of ecosystems. Microorganisms are used industrially in food technology or for the production of antibiotically active substances for pharmaceuticals.
On the other hand, bacteria and fungi cause considerable damage when they occur as contaminants in production and have a negative effect on products. They can also cause technical problems because materials are destroyed or equipment is turned unusable due to microbial growth. Examples include damage caused by fungi in old buildings, deterioration of heat exchanger efficiency due to biofilms, and microbial-induced corrosion damage.
Enormous efforts are also being made in the health sector to prevent the growth of biofilms on natural surfaces such as dental material, but also on synthetic materials such as implants, catheters or medical devices – mainly because of high costs in the event of damage to humans.
At Fraunhofer IGB, we have been working for several years on issues involving the interactions between microbial cells and surfaces. We also have the technical expertise to characterize biofilms and surfaces and to develop individual approaches to prevent bacterial deposits.