CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Eur J Dent 2013; 07(02): 152-158
DOI: 10.4103/1305-7456.110155
Original Article
Dental Investigation Society

Atomic force microscopy of bacteria from periodontal subgingival biofilm: Preliminary study results

Francesco Germano
1   Odontostomatology Department, University of Roma Torvergata School of Dentistry, RM, Italy
Ennio Bramanti
2   Odontostomatology Department, University of Messina School of Dentistry, ME, Italy
Claudio Arcuri
1   Odontostomatology Department, University of Roma Torvergata School of Dentistry, RM, Italy
Francesco Cecchetti
1   Odontostomatology Department, University of Roma Torvergata School of Dentistry, RM, Italy
Marco Cicciù
3   Human Pathology Department, University of Messina School of Dentistry, ME, Italy
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25. September 2019 (online)


Objective: Atomic force microscope (AFM) is a technology that allows analysis of the nanoscale morphology of bacteria within biofilm and provides details that may be better useful for understanding the role of bacterial interactions in the periodontal disease. Material and Methods: Five patients with periodontal ≥5 mm pockets diagnosed as generalized periodontitis and five patients with slight gingivitis were selected for the investigation. Bacteria biofilms were collected and morphologically investigated by AFM application. Results: The investigation revealed how periodontitis bacteria are characterized by specific morphologic features of the cell wall. The major representative species of bacteria causing periodontal diseases have been reproduced by a three-dimensional reconstruction showing the bacteria surface details. Conclusions: The presence of complex glycocalyx structures, bacteriophage-like vesicles, spirochetes (classic and cystic morphology) and bacterial co-aggregation has been identified by the AFM analysis. The results suggest that AFM is a reliable technique for studying bacterial morphology and for examining microbial interactions in dental plaque.


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