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Biofilms: friends or foes?

Biofilms: friends or foes?

Biofilm is a way of life for bacteria. They are spatially organized microbial communities with emerging properties in comparison to the free-floating form.

Microorganisms inside the biofilm are embedded in a self-produced matrix that gives a three-dimensional structure to the population. For example, this structure leads to the appearance of gradients making the microorganisms living deep in the biofilm more tolerant to environmental fluctuations, such as the application of antibiotics or biocides.

Most bacteria on earth are organized in biofilm form, they are everywhere.

A biofilm can be formed either by undesirable (i.e. negative biofilms) or by beneficial (i.e. positive biofilms) bacteria.

  • Most chronic infections in plants, animals, or humans are associated with pathogenic biofilms. It is noteworthy that 60-80% of human microbial nosocomial infections are caused by bacteria biofilms.
  • Biofilms can be positive and used by humans to transform food, as during the manufacturing of cheese for example, or act as bio-preservation agents for plants. Our gut and skin microbiota also contain biofilms.

This article is extracted form an expert interview with Virgile Guéneau, watch the interview below!

Published Apr 8, 2024

Animal environmentBiofilm