Biofilms are a layer of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa that get attached to the inner surface of the pharmaceutical water system forming a layer of slime. The presence of biofilms can severely compromise the quality and safety of the water. The presence of harmful microorganisms can further reduce the effectiveness of disinfection and can be tough to get rid of once formed.

The biofilm on the water harbors diverse microorganisms that mutually exchange nutrients and waste, fostering the growth of detrimental pathogenic microorganisms. This water is then used in various pharmaceutical processes, such as drug manufacturing, solvent for drug formulation, and cleaning and disinfection of equipment and facilities. It can compromise the safety and potency of pharmaceutical products. Therefore, it is important to detect biofilms as early as possible so proper measures can be taken in time.

A] Methods To Prevent The Formation Of Biofilm In Water Systems

1. Making Sure The Insides Of Tanks And Pipes Are Smooth

A smoother inner surface reduces the risk of microorganisms attaching themselves to the surface when compared to rough surfaces. Hence, it is important to make sure the inside of the pharmaceutical water systems is smooth to discourage microbial growth. This can be achieved by regular cleaning and Biofilm inspection of pipes and the system.

2. Ensure Continuous Water Movement In Tanks And Rapid Flow In Pipe-Work

If the water is moving quickly and continuously through the pipes, the few microbes that are present in the water will not get a chance to stick to the surface. By avoiding stagnation, the risk of biofilm formation can be reduced. Hence, it is important to have moving water at a relatively high speed through the pipes.

3. Valves Must Also Be Made Properly So That Water Doesn’t Stay In Them

Poorly made valves can also be a great spot for still water which then leads to the formation of biofilm in water pipes. Incorporating zero dead-leg valves and sloping drainage in the design can reduce the chances of microorganisms sticking to the surface while timely maintenance can ensure hygiene.

4. Fix Leaks When They Are Identified To Stop Bacteria From Entering THe System

Leaks can be a serious problem as bacteria can enter the system from outside and adhere to the surface, leading to the formation of biofilm over time. If this is not fixed in time, the microorganisms can multiply quickly and form an ecosystem of harmful pathogens. To avoid bacteria and other microorganisms from entering the system, the leak needs to be fixed right away.

5. Use Filters On The Air Vents Of Water Tanks

One of the best preventive measures to avoid microbial contamination in the pharmaceutical water system is to put filters on the air vents. The air vents are an easy entry point for bacteria to enter and stay there, using a filter on the air vent can be an easy and effective solution to this.

6. Use Coatings On Pipes And Tanks Where Necessary

Coatings can help make the pipe surfaces more smooth and non-adhesive, this discourages the microorganisms from sticking to the surface thereby preventing the formation of biofilms. The coating should be done wherever necessary so the coating material does not leak and contaminate the water.

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B] How Does Biofilm Detection Work At Bioscan?

At Bioscan, biofilm detection is a crucial step in maintaining hygiene and safety standards. By employing the innovative BioDtex Lamp, in combination with ATP swabbing, Bioscan significantly reduces the risk of contamination by instantly identifying potential critical areas.

The BioDtex Lamp utilizes engineered UV-A light technology, effectively reflecting UV light off stainless steel surfaces. This process exposes harmful microorganisms, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Pseudomonads, and Yeast. The UV-A frequency employed by BioDtex operates at the upper edge of the UV spectrum, enabling targeted illumination of protein cells associated with bacteria, yeast, and moulds. Prior to production, the BioDtex UV lamp scans high-touch surfaces, work areas, aseptic lines, tanks, cheese vats, and other vessels to ensure adherence to the highest cleanliness standards.


Implementing these above points can reduce the formation of biofilms in the pharmaceutical water system, helping you to ensure the water in the system is clean and safe. The presence of biofilm in the system can tarnish the quality of the water which is used for various pharmaceutical purposes.

However, it is possible that even after these precautions, some bacteria and fungus could make their way into the system and begin to form a biofilm. Hence, it is essential to conduct regular biofilm detection tests.

Are you in the food industry and concerned about maintaining integrity and safety? Look no further than Bioscan, a leading global provider of integrity inspections services. We offer a comprehensive biofilm detection solution that ensures your products meet the highest hygiene standards. With our state-of-the-art variable wavelength technology, we can detect bacteria in real time, all without the need for any chemicals.

Take a proactive approach to safeguarding your business and customers. Contact us today for a quote and discover how Bioscan can help you maintain impeccable quality and compliance.

Further Read: Biofilms In Food Industry: What Are They And Detection Methods