Study: the impact of pH alone on BV biofilms

A lab study has tried to figure out just what impact pH has on the Gardnerella vaginalis polymicrobial biofilm.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is characterised by a shift from a normal pH of around 4.5 to neutral or alkaline conditions. G. vaginalis likes it more alkaline, so researchers set out to figure out if a shift to an acidic pH could disrupt the established biofilm.

They grew a culture of G. vaginalis in a pH of 7 (neutral to alkaline), then replaced the medium with a pH of 4.5 and watched to see what would happen. Shifting the pH to 4.5 after 20 hours of biofilm formation reduced CFU counts by three orders of magnitude. When the pH was stabilised using a buffer, the established biofilm almost completely disintegrated.

pH affected the ability of G. vaginalis to form biofilms, and reduced bacterial counts three fold.  

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)