Physiology of microbes in biofilms

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2008;322:17-36. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-75418-3_2.


Microbial biofilms are governed by an intricate interplay between physical-chemical factors and the physiological and genetic properties of the inhabiting microbes. Many of the physiological traits that are exhibited in a biofilm environment have been observed and studied previously in detail in planktonic cultures. However, their differential and combinatorial phenotypic expression in distinct subpopulations localized to different regions in a biofilm is the cause for the overall biofilm heterogeneity. In this chapter, the causes and consequences of this interplay are elaborated with a special focus on processes controlling biofilm stability and dispersal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Pseudomonas / genetics
  • Pseudomonas / physiology*
  • Shewanella / genetics
  • Shewanella / physiology*
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics
  • Vibrio cholerae / physiology*