New research by scientists at the University of Southampton, UK, using an imaging technique called episcopic differential interference contrast (EDIC) microscopy, could lead to treatments to prevent biofilm blockages and urinary tract infections experienced by many long-term catheter users.

They say that up to 50 percent of long-term catheter users experience encrustations and subsequent blockages, which can result in pain for the individual and infection.

Using EDIC microscopy, the researchers were able to identify four stages of development of crystalline biofilm over a 24-day period on two common catheter materials: silicone and hydrogel latex. They found that the biofilm occurred equally on silicone and hydrogel latex and that the two materials had no effect on the time progression of development.