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need for definitions

Bob McLean rm12 at swt.edu
Tue Jul 20 02:35:12 EST 1999


Hi everyone,
Last summer at ISME8 (8th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology) a 
question was raised as to a true "definition" of a biofilm. While I am 
sure that we can all agree that dental plaque and the slime-coated rocks in 
rivers are two examples of biofilms, we need to reach some sort of 
consensus on this definition. I pose the following questions for discussion:
1) Does one adherent microorganism constitute a biofilm? 
2) If not, then how many do we need to start referring to an adherent 
population as a biofilm? 
3) At what point would the term "microcolony" apply?
4) Do biofilms require metabolically active organisms?
5) If metabolism is required, then what type of metabolism should be 
essential (proton motive force, respiration, biosynthesis, etc)?
6) On the lighter side, has anyone given their lab a good nickname? (My 
lab at Southwest Texas State University has adopted the name "Slime Gang")
It is sometimes tempting to get confrontational during some of these 
discussions. I have a lot of respect for the participants in this 
discussion group, both on a personal and a professional level. I would 
encourage people to enjoy the science (including my first five comments) 
and when possible have fun (my comment 6).
Sincerely,
Bob McLean 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
R.J.C. (Bob) McLean, Ph.D. 
Dept. Biology 
Southwest Texas State University 
601 University Drive 
San Marcos, Tx 78666 
USA 
(512)245-3365 phone 
(512)245-8713 FAX 
Email: RM12 at swt.edu 
http://www.bio.swt.edu/micro/mclean/mclean.html

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