The biofilm matrix--an immobilized but dynamic microbial environment

Trends Microbiol. 2001 May;9(5):222-7. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(01)02012-1.


The biofilm matrix is a dynamic environment in which the component microbial cells appear to reach homeostasis and are optimally organized to make use of all available nutrients. The major matrix components are microbial cells, polysaccharides and water, together with excreted cellular products. The matrix therefore shows great microheterogeneity, within which numerous microenvironments can exist. Although exopolysaccharides provide the matrix framework, a wide range of enzyme activities can be found within the biofilm, some of which will greatly affect structural integrity and stability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Enzymes / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry


  • Enzymes
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Polysaccharides
  • Water