New coating turns ordinary glass into super glass

A new transparent, bioinspired coating makes ordinary glass tough, self-cleaning and incredibly slippery, a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard School of Engineering ...

A pesky bacterial slime reveals its survival secrets

By rethinking what happens on the surface of things, engineers at Harvard University have discovered that Bacillus subtilis biofilm colonies exhibit an unmatched ability to repel a wide range of liquids -- and even vapors.

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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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