Related topics: bacteria

'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 ...

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 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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