A common in vitro method to study Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm development is to allow the bacteria to attach and grow on a solid surface in the presence of a continuous flow of nutrients. Under these conditions, the bacteria progress through a series of developmental steps, ultimately forming a multicellular structure containing differentiated cell populations. The observation of the biofilm at various time-points throughout this process provides a glimpse of the temporal changes that occur. Furthermore, use of metabolic stains and fluorescent reporters provides insight into the physiologic and transcriptional changes that occur within a developing biofilm. Currently, there are multiple systems available to assess biofilm development, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on the questions being asked. In this chapter, we describe the use of two separate flow-cell systems used to evaluate the developmental characteristics of staphylococcal biofilms: the FC270 flow-cell system from BioSurface Technologies, Corp. and the BioFlux1000 microfluidic flow-cell system from Fluxion Bioscience, Inc.
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