A study of nitric oxide dynamics in a growing biofilm using a density dependent reaction-diffusion model Academic Article uri icon

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  • One of a number of critical roles played by NO· as a chemical weapon (generated by the immune system) is to neutralize pathogens. However, the virulence of pathogens depends on the production activity of reductants to detoxify NO·. Broad reactivity of NO· makes it complicated to predict the fate of NO· inside bacteria and its effects on the treatment of any infection. Here, we present a mathematical model of biofilm response to NO·, as a stressor. The model is comprised of a PDE system of highly nonlinear reaction-diffusion equations that we study in computer simulations to determine the positive and negative effects of key parameters on bacterial defenses against NO·. From the reported results, we conjecture that the oscillatory behavior of NO· under a microaerobic regime is a temporal phenomenon and does not give rise to a spatial pattern. It is also shown computationally that decreasing the initial size of the biofilm colony negatively impacts the functionality of reducing agents that deactivate NO·. Whereas nutrient deprivation results in the development of biofilms with heterogeneous structure, its effect on the activity of NO· reductants depends on the oxygen availability, biofilm size, and the amount of NO·.


  • Ghasemi, Maryam
  • Jenkins, Benjamin
  • Doxey, Andrew
  • Sivaloganathan, Sivabal

publication date

  • January 2020