Metabolic Responses in Biofilms
Bradshaw, D. J.
- Publisher: Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease
Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease
(issn: 1651-2235, eissn: 1651-2235)
The majority of bacteria in natural habitats exist in association with solid surfaces, such as microscopic particles in aquatic environments, clay or sand particles in soils, or on the surfaces of animal or plant tissues. Despite this, most in vitro studies have focused on growth of bacteria in liquid cultures, usually maintained in a homogeneous state. Recently, there has been an explosion in interest in bacterial associations with many types of surfaces, and the problems which they may pose in a wide variety of situations. Many authors have stated that metabolic responses of bacteria in biofilms differ markedly from their planktonic counterparts (reviewed by Costerton et al. 6). The aim of this review is to consider the mechanisms which may lead to such differences, and to describe some of these ‘biofilm-specific’ responses; some of the difficulties which may be encountered in studying biofilm bacteria will also be discussed.