Caister Academic Press

Limits of the Biofilm Concept and Types of Aquatic Biofilms

Juanita Mora-Gómez, Anna Freixa, Núria Perujo and Laura Barral-Fraga
from: Aquatic Biofilms: Ecology, Water Quality and Wastewater Treatment (Edited by: Anna M. Romaní, Helena Guasch and M. Dolors Balaguer). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 3-28.


Nowadays, it is widely recognized that in natural aquatic settings bacterial cells are most often found in close association with wet surfaces and interfaces in the form of multicellular aggregates commonly referred to as biofilms, which also involve algae, fungi and protozoa. However, since surface-associated bacteria were first reported, the biofilm concept has been developed to include the great complexity of this microbial way of life. Biofilms in natural and anthropogenic environments are modulated by the nature of the surface in which they grow and environmental factors, which determine the biofilm composition and structure and, in consequence, its metabolism and function. As a consequence there are many types of biofilm and many terms have been used through years to try to describe particular biofilms in relation to a type of surface or environment. In the present review, we summarize the knowledge on biofilms, starting from the origin and evolution of the concept followed by a description of biofilm types based on substratum characteristics. Finally, we explain the general effects of environmental variables, contextualizing them in the wide range of natural aquatic ecosystems (including fresh and marine water) and some manmade systems (such as those associated with water distribution systems and marine environments) read more ...
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