Related topics: bacteria

New method for combating antibiotic resistance in microbes

Bacteria in biofilms are 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics, disinfectants, mechanical treatment, and other types of stress. A chemist from RUDN University suggested a method to prevent the formation of biofilms and ...

Deprived of oxygen, layers of bacteria get creative

Bacteria are found living nearly everywhere on our planet, from the inside of human intestines to the soil to deep underwater. When scientists study bacteria in the lab, they most often examine individual bacterial cells ...

How a gooey slime helps bacteria survive

Bacteria have the ability to adapt to their environment to survive the host's immune defense. One such survival strategy includes the formation of a biofilm that prevents the immune system or antibiotics from reaching the ...

Washing away stubborn biofilms using fungal cleaning products

Lurking inside pipes and on the surfaces of indwelling medical devices, slimy layers of bacteria, called biofilms, cause problems ranging from largescale product contamination to potentially fatal chronic infections. Biofilms ...

Water bacteria have a green thumb

The sheer endless expanses of the oceans are hostile deserts—at least from the perspective of a bacterium living in water. Tiny as it is, its chances of finding sufficient nutrients in the great mass of water would seem ...

Bacteria breakthrough could lead to new biomaterials

Physicists at the Australian National University (ANU) have found a way to manipulate the growth of bacterial biofilms—one of the most abundant forms of life on earth.

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Biofilm

A biofilm is an aggregate of microorganisms in which cells adhere to each other on a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS, which is also referred to as slime (although not everything described as slime is a biofilm), is a polymeric conglomeration generally composed of extracellular DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides. Biofilms may form on living or non-living surfaces and can be prevalent in natural, industrial and hospital settings. The microbial cells 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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