Viewing a microcosm through a physics lens

"What can physics offer biology?" This was how Alison Patteson, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' physics department and also a faculty member in the BioInspired Institute, began the explanation of ...

Study reveals how sulfate-reducing bacteria respond to biocides

Almost all materials immersed in seawater are suffering from microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). MIC catalyzed by sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) can cause pipeline network damage. The non-oxidizing biocide tetrakis ...

Sewer slime can hang on to SARS-CoV-2 RNA from wastewater

During the COVID-19 pandemic, monitoring the levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater entering treatment plants has been one way that researchers have gauged the disease's spread. But could the slimy microbial communities that ...

Unveiling the secrets of biofilms

Most bacteria have the ability to form communities, biofilms, that adhere to a wide variety of surfaces and are difficult to remove. This can lead to major problems, for example in hospitals or in the food industry. Now, ...

'Simple' bacteria found to organize in elaborate patterns

Over the past several years, research from University of California San Diego biologist Gürol Süel's laboratory has uncovered a series of remarkable features exhibited by clusters of bacteria that live together in communities ...

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Biofilm

A biofilm is an aggregate of microorganisms in which cells are stuck to each other and/or to a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS, which is also refered to as "slime," is a polymeric jumble of DNA, proteins and polysaccharides. Biofilms may form on living or non-living surfaces, and represent a prevalent mode of microbial life in natural, industrial and hospital settings . The cells of a microorganism growing in a biofilm are physiologically distinct from planktonic cells of the same organism, which by contrast, are single-cells that may float or swim in a liquid medium. Microbes form a biofilm in response to many factors, which may include cellular recognition of specific or non-specific attachment sites on a surface, nutritional cues, or in some cases, by exposure of planktonic cells to sub-inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics . When a cell switches to the biofilm mode of growth, it undergoes a phenotypic shift in behavior in which large suites of genes are differentially regulated .

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