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Chapter 16 : Biofilm Life

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Biofilm Life, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Medical microbiologists in particular still love to isolate organisms in pure culture, most of their kindred now recognize the limitations and artificiality of this simplistic craft. The greater reality is, of course, the complex world of polymicrobial communities, such as biofilms. Scrutiny of these heterogeneous populations is now providing both deeper insights into the sophistication of microbial life and pointers toward possible avenues for cooperation and control. In the early years of research on bacterial biofilms, they have sometimes been portrayed as passive occupants of inactive surfaces, whether oil rigs or shellfish in the oceans or tissues or implants in the body. This chapter goes on to talk about Jeremy Webb, a SAM contributor, who described how biofilms undergo intrinsic ontogenic effects, such as regulated differentiation and cell death, which lead much of the structure to disperse and slough away. Cary Lambert of Nottingham University described work on the gram-negative bacterium . Emma Woodmansey of Smith and Nephew Research Centre, York, United Kingdom, reported promising results from feeding trials designed to counteract adverse changes in the gut population. There were also warnings in Edinburgh that bioremediation efforts often prove to be disappointing because specialized scavengers, developed in the laboratory, have to function not in isolation, but in the ecological networks of which they become a part. While much can be learned about the behavior of specific isolates under laboratory conditions, understanding and modifying polymicrobial communities in the real world pose rather more formidable challenges.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. Biofilm Life, p 74-78. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch16
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References

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1. Sauer, K.,, A. H. Rickard,, and D. G. Davies. 2007. Biofilms and biocomplexity. Microbe 2:347353.
2. Schaudinn, C.,, P. Stoodley,, A. Kainoviæ,, T. O'Keeffe,, B. Costerton,, D. Robinson,, M. Baum,, G. Ehrlich,, and P. Webster. 2007. Bacterial biofilms, other structures seen as mainstream concepts. Microbe 2:231237.

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