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Dental Unit Waterlines


Dental Unit Waterlines: Glossary of Terminology

The stable interaction of a cell with respect to a surface. Living cells actively excrete holdfast chemicals to anchor themselves to a substratum.

Deterioration of a metal or alloy, generally in the form of a localized attack on a surface, as a result of the presence or activities of surface-associated organisms.

Millions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa) accumulated on surfaces in aqueous environments. Film-forming microbes excrete a glue-like substance that anchors them to materials such as metals, plastics, tissue, and soil particles.

Fouling or contamination linked to microbial activity.

Coliform bacteria
Members of Enterobacteriaceae, which are gram-negative, non-sporing facultative rods that ferment lactose with gas formation within 48 hours at 35 degrees Celsius. These microbes are used as indicator organisms for fecal contamination of water and some foods.

Colony-forming unit / "CFU"
Minimum number of separable cells on the surface of or in semi-solid agar medium that give rise to a visible colony of progeny numbering in the tens of millions. CFUs may consist of pairs, chains, clusters, or single cells.

Transfer of biofilm particulate constituents (cells, polymers, precipitates) from the biofilm to the fluid bathing the biofilm.

Extracellular polymeric material produced by some bacteria. The term was initially applied to the polysaccharide matrix excreted by epithelial cells forming a coating on the surface of epithelial tissue, however, it is now accepted as a general term for the polysaccharide compound outside the bacterial cell wall. Also called slime layer or matrix polymer.

Non-uniformity of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of biofilms on surfaces.

Heterotrophic bacteria
Bacteria that require an organic carbon source for growth.

Invasion and multiplication of microorganisms on or in body tissues.

Microbial transport
Movement of individual cells or cell aggregates through a system. Often, this involves displacement of freely suspended microbes from the bulk aqueous phase to a surface and vice versa, allowing dissemination of progeny throughout the system.

Opportunistic microorganisms
Microbes that use the opportunity offered by weakened defense mechanisms to inflict damage on a host. An opportunist may cause infection exclusively in compromised hosts, it may more frequently infect compromised than normal hosts, or it may cause more severe infection in compromised hosts.

Organism that is capable of producing disease in a host.
Source: Mills S, Bednarsh H. Dental waterlines and biofilms. Implications for clinical practice. Dental Teamwork, 1996 May-Jun;9(3):18.


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