Magnetic resonance imaging of mass transport and structure inside a phototrophic biofilm

Baheerathan Ramanan, William M. Holmes, William T. Sloan, Vernon R. Phoenix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to utilize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to image structural heterogeneity and mass transport inside a biofilm which was too thick for photon based imaging. MRI was used to map water diffusion and image the transport of the paramagnetically tagged macromolecule, Gd-DTPA, inside a 2.5 mm thick cyanobacterial biofilm. The structural heterogeneity of the biofilm was imaged at resolutions down to 22 × 22 μm, enabling the impact of biofilm architecture on the mass transport of both water and Gd-DTPA to be investigated. Higher density areas of the biofilm correlated with areas exhibiting lower relative water diffusion coefficients and slower transport of Gd-DTPA, highlighting the impact of biofilm structure on mass transport phenomena. This approach has potential for shedding light on heterogeneous mass transport of a range of molecular mass molecules in biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-461
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Microbiology
Issue number5
Early online date10 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • biofilm
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI

Cite this