Next-generation studies of microbial biofilm communities

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Journal Article
Microbial Biotechnology, 2016, 9 (5), pp. 677 - 680
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© 2016 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology. As we look into the future of microbial biofilm research, there is clearly an emerging focus on communities rather than populations. This represents an essential change in direction to more accurately understand how and why microorganisms assemble into communities, as well as the functional implications for such a life style. For example, current research studies shows that communities display emergent properties or functions that are not predicted from the individual single species populations, including elevated stress tolerance and resistance to antibiotics. Models for mixed species biofilms can be very simple, comprised only a handful of species or can be extremely species rich, with hundreds or thousands of species present. The future holds much promise for this area of research, where investigators will increasingly be able to resolve, at the molecular and biochemical levels, interspecies relationships and mechanisms of interaction. The outcome of these studies will greatly enhance our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary factors that drive community function in natural and engineered systems.
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