Caister Academic Press

The Biofilm Mode of Life

Authors: Staffan Kjelleberg and Michael Givskov
Abstract: Recent advances in studies of biofilm systems have generated a wealth of novel information on multicellular prokaryotic biology and have established models for the formation of biofilms and the biology of their lifecycles. As a prelude to the subsequent chapters in this volume, this introductory article is aimed at identifying the contextual scientific and experimental framework for contemporary biofilm research programs, and addresses the strengths and weaknesses of some of the current key biofilm models. We will discuss whether or not a unique biofilm specific gene expression underpins our observations on biofilm structure and biology. Further, we will highlight the limitations inherent to current genetic and physiological analyses of bacterial biofilms, including the strengths and weaknesses of the molecular toolbox and the biofilm assays commonly employed. Moreover, the extent by which multiple parallel pathways of biofilm formation exist will be addressed, with reference also to applications for novel control strategies based on contemporary advances in studies of bacterial biofilms. The chapter will conclude by discussing the relevance of a consensus view of bacterial biofilm formation and biology.
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