Biofilms as living catalysts in continuous chemical syntheses

Trends Biotechnol. 2012 Sep;30(9):453-65. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Biofilms are resilient to a wide variety of environmental stresses. This inherited robustness has been exploited mainly for bioremediation. With a better understanding of their physiology, the application of these living catalysts has been extended to the production of bulk and fine chemicals as well as towards biofuels, biohydrogen, and electricity production in microbial fuel cells. Numerous challenges call for novel solutions and concepts of analytics, biofilm reactor design, product recovery, and scale-up strategies. In this review, we highlight recent advancements in spatiotemporal biofilm characterization and new biofilm reactor developments for the production of value-added fine chemicals as well as current challenges and future scenarios.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms*
  • Bioreactors*
  • Biotechnology / methods