Quantifying dental biofilm growth using cross-polarization optical coherence tomography

R. Chen, J. Rudney, C. Aparicio, A. Fok, R. S. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aims: Quantifying the ex vivo growth of complex multispecies dental biofilms using cross-polarization 1310-nm optical coherence tomography (CP-OCT) system was investigated. Methods and Results: Bacterial microcosms, which were derived from plaque samples of paediatric subjects, were incubated in a biofilm reactor system containing discs of different dental materials for 72h with daily sucrose pulsing (5×). CP-OCT analysis of biofilm mass was validated with crystal violet (CV) assays at various growth stages of these complex biofilms. CP-OCT was able to filter out the back-reflected signals of water layers in the hydrated biofilm and allowed for direct biofilm quantification. The overall depth-resolved scattering intensity of the biofilm showed very strong positive correlation with CV assay quantification (Spearman's ρ=0·92) during the growth phase of the biofilm. Conclusion: CP-OCT was able to quantify the mass of the biofilm by measuring the overall depth-resolved scattering of the biofilm. Significance and Impact of the Study: CP-OCT has the ability to nondestructively monitor biofilm growth and elucidate the growth characteristics of these microcosms on different dental material compositions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Dental biofilms
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Polarization


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