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Definition of a biofilm - Again

Cindy MORRIS Cindy.Morris at avignon.inra.fr
Thu Jul 22 05:51:44 EST 1999


Dear All:
here are some additional arguements for the debate relative to the most 
recent message of DB Hedrick:
> A single 
>bacterium (AKA "lonely") still derives benefits from attachment - often 
>higher carbon availability, not being swept away, etc.
** So, in the case of attachement of a single cell, why is the description 
"attached cell" not sufficient?? If we call it a biofilm, this implies that 
there are other properties that a single attached cell might not have. 
Would we need to say "a single-celled non-matrix-enclosed biofilm"?
>How many 
>"lonely" bacteria are there in a square centimeter? Isn't it just a 
>matter of degree, and a subjective opinion at that, whether 2 bacteria 
>are close enough together to qualify as a biofilm? 
*** I would argue that in many cases it is NOT a subjective opinion. The 
significance of a biofilm being more that one cell is that there is a 
potential for "communication" (genetic or chemical exchange) between the 
cells; that the cells function as a tissue and have behaviors that the 
single cell cannot have. This communication cannot take place if the 
bacteria are not sufficiently close and if there is not a vehicle (matrix, 
pili, etc) for transporting the message . Hence, I would argue that single, 
attached cells that do not have the potential for communication are "single 
attached cells". 


Cindy E. Morris
INRA - Station de Pathologie Vegetale 
B.P. 94 
84143 Montfavet, France
tel : (33) 490-31-63-84 
fax : (33) 490-31-63-35 
e-mail : morris at avignon.inra.fr


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