Last Updated 07 Jul 2020

Biofilms: The Social Life of Microorganisms

Category Nature
Essay type Film Analysis
Words 351 (1 page)
Views 175

Microorganisms typically do not live as single cells in pure cultures. The vast majority lives in mixed populations, organized in aggregates which are termed “biofilms”. This includes films at interfaces, flocks (floating films), sludge’s and microbial mats. They all have emergent properties in common that only can be developed in the aggregated form: they generate a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances which keeps them together, allows for the development of stable, synergistic micro consortia and for intense cell-cell communication.

The matrix is activated by extracellular enzymes which are retained in it, representing an external digestion system. This system also sequesters nutrients from the environment and serves as ultimate recycling yard and nutrient source. Horizontal gene exchange is facilitated with a vast gene pool present. In biofilms, organisms differentiate rapidly, forming phenotypically different subpopulations, a mechanism which contributes to ecological fitness.

Resistance to biocides is enhanced by a range of mechanisms. On the other hand, strong competition prevails in which attacking and defence strategies evolved, including the formation of antibiotics and bacteriocins. Grazing organisms can limit biofilm growth but also stimulate ecological fitness. Even “programmed cell death” is observed, leading to a more porous matrix which allows for better access of nutrients for organisms in the depth of the matrix.

Order custom essay Biofilms: The Social Life of Microorganisms with free plagiarism report

GET ORIGINAL PAPER

Under stress conditions, cells can transform into a viable but not cultivable (VBNC) state which is of relevance for public hygiene because they cannot be detected with the methods designed for their determination but can resuscitate. Biofilms represent the oldest, most abundant and successful form of life on Earth, displaying aspects of multicellularity. Life evolved from biofilms and they are involved in the biogeochemical cycles of all major elements.

In biofilms, photosynthesis was developed biofilms they are responsible for the self-purification mechanisms of soils, sediments and water. However, biofilms can occur in the wrong place and time, causing bio fouling, bio corrosion and bio deterioration, leading to substantial economic loss and supporting an entire industry dedicated to cleaning and disinfection. In medicine, they are cause of persistent infections and are related to many diseases. In general, biofilms are of fundamental but mostly unaccounted relevance for our life.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses

Starting from 3 hours delivery 450+ experts on 30 subjects
get essay help 124  experts online

Did you know that we have over 70,000 essays on 3,000 topics in our database?

Cite this page

Explore how the human body functions as one unit in harmony in order to life

Biofilms: The Social Life of Microorganisms. (2017, Mar 27). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/biofilms-the-social-life-of-microorganisms/

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer