Caister Academic Press

Human Oral Multi-species Biofilms: Bacterial Communities in Health and Disease

Authors: Paul E. Kolenbrander, Nicholas S. Jakubovics, Natalia I. Chalmers and Robert J. Palmer, Jr.
Abstract: Possibly the first biofilm samples ever examined from a microbiological perspective were obtained from the oral cavity: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek's tooth scrapings. Since that time, oral microbiologists have made major contributions to microbial taxonomy, physiology, and ecology. The oral cavity distinguishes itself from other environments by having over 700 phylotypes (taxonomic units), nearly half of which have culturable representatives. Aerobic, facultatively anaerobic, and obligately anaerobic physiologies are present. Members of the microbial kingdoms Archaea, Bacteria and Fungi are present. What generates and maintains this diversity? Why are these communities attractive targets for study? How does community analysis using modern molecular methods differ from that using classical bacteriological approaches? We strive to answer these questions in the following contribution and, as far as possible, we rely on knowledge obtained from studies of plaque in situ.
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