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Beneficial biofilms

Department of Biology, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

Special Issues: Biofilm engineering - Harnessing the power of beneficial biofilms

Surface-adherent biofilm growth is a common trait of bacteria and other microorganisms in nature. Within biofilms, organisms are present in high density and are enmeshed in an organic matrix containing polysaccharides and other molecules. The close proximity of organisms within biofilms facilitates microbial interactions and signaling, including many metabolic processes in which consortia rather than individual organisms participate. Biofilm growth also enables microorganisms to withstand chemical and biological stresses. Here, we review some current literature and document representative beneficial aspects of biofilms using examples from wastewater treatment, microbial fuel cells, biological repair (biocementation) of stonework, and biofilm protection against Candida albicans infections. Finally, we address a chemical ecology strategy whereby desired microbial succession and beneficial biofilm formation can be encouraged via manipulation of culture conditions and bacterial signaling.
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