Image: BioRock and roll

This fluorescent work of art captures the beauty of biofilms, or the growth of microbes on rocks. In this microscopic image, Sphingomonas desiccabilis is growing on basalt.

How bacterial communities transport nutrients

Under threat of being scrubbed away with disinfectant, individual bacteria can improve their odds of survival by joining together to form colonies, called biofilms. What Arnold Mathijssen, postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering ...

Researchers find a way to peel slimy biofilms like old stickers

Slimy, hard-to-clean bacterial mats called biofilms cause problems ranging from medical infections to clogged drains and fouled industrial equipment. Now, researchers at Princeton have found a way to cleanly and completely ...

How antibiotics spread resistance

Bacteria can become insensitive to antibiotics by picking up resistance genes from the environment. Unfortunately for patients, the stress response induced by antibiotics activates competence in microorganisms, the ability ...

Remedy against superbacteria found in crowberry

Researchers in Oulu have found small fragments of an antibacterial protein, also known as peptides, in a microbe living in crowberry. The peptide is able to destroy bacteria that cause infections. Based on the peptide, a ...

Researchers discover what pneumococcus says to make you sick

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have identified a molecule that plays a key role in bacterial communication and infection. Their findings add a new word to pneumococcus' molecular dictionary and may lead to novel ways ...

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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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