VO Eyes and ears for Chemical Safety 2019-2020 (LDIR and biofilm)

The regrowth and biofilm formation of micro-organisms on pipe material and membranes lead to problems in drinking water systems. To combat biofilm formation, a knowledge of the dynamics of biofilm formation and the composition of biofilms is essential.

Laser direct infrared (LDIR) imaging is a possible tool for this purpose. This technique is based on measuring infrared spectra, which are unique for most compounds. That makes it possible to identify and quantify a range of molecules. This technique can be used to clarify the composition of biofilms. As a result, we may acquire a clearer picture of which parameters affect biofilm formation, and this could possibly lead to the targeted reduction of biofilm formation during drinking water distribution.

LDIR can be used to demonstrate how a biofilm develops and to understand better how biofilm composition changes in response to water hardness. It is also possible to study the material on which the biofilm forms.