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An adhesive substance, the glycocalyx, and the bacterial community which it envelops at the interface of a liquid and a surface. When a liquid is in contact with an inert surface, any bacteria within the liquid are attracted to the surface and adhere to it. In this process the bacteria produce the glycocalyx. The bacterial inhabitants within this microenvironment benefit as the biofilm concentrates nutrients from the liquid phase. However, these activities may damage the surface, impair its efficiency, or develop within the biofilm a pathogenic community that may damage the associated environment. Microbial fouling or biofouling are the terms applied to these actual or potentially undesirable consequences.

Microbial fouling affects a large variety of surfaces under various conditions. Microbial biofilms may form wherever bacteria can survive; familiar examples are dental plaque and tooth decay. Dental plaque is an accumulation of bacteria, mainly streptococci, from saliva. The process of tooth decay begins with the bacteria colonizing fissures in and contact points between the teeth. Dietary sucrose is utilized by the bacteria to form extracellular glucans that make up the glycocalyx and assist adhesion to the tooth. Within this microbial biofilm or plaque the metabolic by-products of the bacterial inhabitants are trapped; these include acids that destroy the tooth enamel, dentin, or cementum.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A microbial (bacterial, fungal, algal) community, enveloped by the extracellular biopolymer which these microbial cells produce, that adheres to the interface of a liquid and a surface.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
And once biofilms form inside your body, they are nearly impossible to get rid of through ordinary means.
faecalis biofilms grown on dentine blocks (15), but thus far, no data are available on the effect of DNase treatment on adhering cells of E.
Objective: To determine the role of icaAD and agr genes in biofilm formation and evaluate the consistency of two phenotypic methods for biofilm measurement.
Mohan Jacob, the head of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department at James Cook University (JCU) in Queensland, Australia, explains that a large number of these bacteria are found on the "biofilm" that forms on medical devices.
Biofilms are increasingly recognized as playing a role in Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) diseases.
Stewart, "Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacterial biofilms," International Journal of Medical Microbiology, vol.
aureus can adhere to and develop biofilms on food contact surfaces, thereby affecting the quality and safety of food products [5, 6].
(13,14) They can readily form biofilms and keep growing on various medical devices' surfaces such as urinary catheters despite a serious inflammatory response.
Extracellular DNA in single-and multiple-species unsaturated biofilms. Appl Environ microbiol 2005;71:5404-10.
This is important to other biomedical fields facing drug-resistant biofilms as we approach a post-antibiotic era," said Koo, lead author of the study published in Journal of Science Robotics.
Biofilms are communities of microorganisms that adhere to each other on living or non-living surfaces within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances including polysaccharides, extracellular DNA, and proteins.