The term biofilm refers to the combination of microorganisms and extracellular polymeric substances released by those microorganisms. Biofilms are ubiquitous on wetted surfaces in water and wastewater infrastructure, onsite plumbing, and on many healthcare surfaces. Biofilms can provide shelter for pathogenic microorganisms, and as such present a human health hazard. UV-based surface disinfection products that purport to inactivate microorganisms on surfaces, including microorganisms protected by biofilms, have proliferated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. UV promises to be a key technology for biofilm mitigation and the IUVA is well-positioned to develop and disseminate the knowledge base and recommended testing methodologies required to support the development and deployment of high quality and effective UV/biofilm technologies.
Industry and academic research by members of the IUVA community and others has demonstrated that UV can inactivate bacteria in biofilms and mitigate the formation of biofilms. Many IUVA members have expressed interest in pursuing in-depth biofilm-related research and/or product development.
The proposed task force will provide a forum for reviewing and summarizing existing UV/biofilm research and development activities, evaluating the experimental methodologies that have been used in past studies, and identifying promising areas of future inquiry. It is anticipated that this task force will evolve into a wider permanent working group at the IUVA dedicated to supporting research and innovation related to biofilm control with UV.
The task force will review, summarize, and compare state of the art academic and industry research related to biofilm control with UV, with a special focus on methodologies for UV/biofilm experiments. Based on this review, target areas for future research will be identified and recommendations for best practices for UV/biofilm experimental activities will be developed and disseminated to the IUVA membership.
The task force will begin by reviewing and summarizing academic and industry scientific literature related to biofilm control with UV. The collected information will be reviewed and evaluated by the task force members. The members will collaboratively develop best practices for UV/biofilm experiments based on the findings of the literature review and also identify target areas of future UV/biofilm research. The knowledge generated by the task force will be published as an article in UV solutions and/or in a presentation at an upcoming IUVA conference. As the anticipated members of this task force are scattered across the world, communication will take place via video call.
Stephanie Gora, PhD, PEng
Rich Simons, Ph.D. MIET