IUBio

Definition of a biofilm

Andy Spragg sparge at globalnet.co.uk
Tue Jul 20 17:59:39 EST 1999


On 20 Jul 1999 12:33:16 -0700, "K.E.Cooksey" 
<umbkc at gemini.oscs.montana.edu> wrote:
>I don't want to sound as though I am older than I am, but why do we need 
>another definition of a biofilm? Let's not re-invent the wheel!
>We developed ... a shorter version that defines a biofilm as "the 
>accumulation of microbial cells , their products and inorganic particles at 
>a wetted surface ".[ to take into the account that natural biofilms 
>accumulate lots of silt].
I'm mainly interested (see the "Biofilm treatment with polymers" 
thread) in the definition of a biofilm as a means to an end, namely 
the definition of _membership_ of a biofilm. Does your definition help 
with this one? Don't think so:
- Are grazing protozoa members of a biofilm? Not by your definition - 
but a case could be made.
- What about Tim Charlton's example of a motile bacterium which can 
move from one colony to another? Does it belong? Do any other 
microorganisms which are "facultative planktonic", to coin a phrase? 
Not by your definition (at least, not as far as I can see) - but 
membership seems very plausible in this case.
- What about adventitious microbes? Your definition would say yes - 
but it seems a bit unjust to exclude the ones that got there my 
design, and include the ones that got there by accident.
It's a nice concise definition and it probably captures most of what 
most people understand by the term biofilm, but it seems to me that 
the last word has certainly not been said thereby. What do others 
think? 
Andy Spragg


Speculate to accumulate; catabolize to anabolize; reculer pour mieux sauter.

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