Bacterial resistance to antibiotics: the role of biofilms

Prog Drug Res. 1991;37:91-105. doi: 10.1007/978-3-0348-7139-6_2.


Bacteria adhere to natural and synthetic, medically important surfaces within an extracellular polymer generically termed the glycocalyx. This quasi-structure is a biofilm. The enhanced antibiotic resistance of biofilm bacteria, relative to floating (planktonic) bacteria, encourages the establishment of chronic bacterial infections. Resistance mechanisms include the hinderance of antibiotic diffusion by the glycocalyx, the physiology of the bacteria and the environment conditions of the niche in which the biofilm resides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Infections / physiopathology*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Polysaccharides / physiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides