Revealing region-specific biofilm viscoelastic properties by means of a micro-rheological approach

Huayu Cao, Olivier Habimana, Ashkan Safari, Rory Heffernan, Yihong Dai, Eoin Casey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Particle-tracking microrheology is an in situ technique that allows quantification of biofilm material properties. It overcomes the limitations of alternative techniques such as bulk rheology or force spectroscopy by providing data on region specific material properties at any required biofilm location and can be combined with confocal microscopy and associated structural analysis. This article describes single particle tracking microrheology combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy to resolve the biofilm structure in 3 dimensions and calculate the creep compliances locally. Samples were analysed from Pseudomonas fluorescens biofilms that were cultivated over two timescales (24 h and 48 h) and alternate ionic conditions (with and without calcium chloride supplementation). The region-based creep compliance analysis showed that the creep compliance of biofilm void zones is the primary contributor to biofilm mechanical properties, contributing to the overall viscoelastic character.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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