Biofilms: an emergent form of bacterial life

An interesting overview is published in Nature Review in Microbiology on biofilms as a bacterial life style by Hans-Curt Flemming and colleagues

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Biofilms: an emergent form of bacterial life

Hans-Curt Flemming, Jost Wingender, Ulrich Szewzyk, Peter Steinberg, Scott A. Rice & Staffan Kjelleberg

Nature Reviews Microbiology 14, 563–575 (2016) doi:10.1038/nrmicro.2016.94


Bacterial biofilms are formed by communities that are embedded in a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Importantly, bacteria in biofilms exhibit a set of 'emergent properties' that differ substantially from free-living bacterial cells. In this Review, we consider the fundamental role of the biofilm matrix in establishing the emergent properties of biofilms, describing how the characteristic features of biofilms — such as social cooperation, resource capture and enhanced survival of exposure to antimicrobials — all rely on the structural and functional properties of the matrix. Finally, we highlight the value of an ecological perspective in the study of the emergent properties of biofilms, which enables an appreciation of the ecological success of biofilms as habitat formers and, more generally, as a bacterial lifestyle.

Akos T Kovacs

Professor of Bacterial Physiology and Genetics, Technical University of Denmark, DTU Bioengineering

07/2017 - Professor of Bacterial Physiology and Genetics, DTU Denmark 10/2012-07/2017 Group Leader, FSU Jena, Germany 07/2005-07-2012 Post Doc, University Groningen, The Netherlands (w/ Oscar Kuipers) 09/2003-05/2005 Post Doc, Biological Research Centre, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged, Hungary (w/ Kornel Kovacs) 09/2000-09/2003 PhD fellow, University of Szeged, Hungary (w/ Kornel Kovacs) 09/1995-07/2000 BSc/MSc student, University of Szeged, Hungary