Biofilms can cause severe problems to human health due to the high tolerance to antimicrobials; consequently, biofilm science and technology constitutes an important research field. Growing a relevant biofilm in the laboratory provides insights into the basic understanding of the biofilm life cycle including responses to antibiotic therapies. Therefore, the selection of an appropriate biofilm reactor is a critical decision, necessary to obtain reproducible and reliable in vitro results. A reactor should be chosen based upon the study goals and a balance between the pros and cons associated with its use and operational conditions that are as similar as possible to the clinical setting. However, standardization in biofilm studies is rare. This review will focus on the four reactors (Calgary biofilm device, Center for Disease Control biofilm reactor, drip flow biofilm reactor, and rotating disk reactor) approved by a standard setting organization (ASTM International) for biofilm experiments and how researchers have modified these standardized reactors and associated protocols to improve the study and understanding of medical biofilms.
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