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Trends Microbiol. 2001 May;9(5):222-7.

The biofilm matrix--an immobilized but dynamic microbial environment.

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  • 1Institute of Cell & Molecular Biology, Edinburgh University, Rutherford Building, Mayfield Road, EH9 3JH, Edinburgh, UK.


The biofilm matrix is a dynamic environment in which the component microbial cells appear to reach homeostasis and are optimally organized to make use of all available nutrients. The major matrix components are microbial cells, polysaccharides and water, together with excreted cellular products. The matrix therefore shows great microheterogeneity, within which numerous microenvironments can exist. Although exopolysaccharides provide the matrix framework, a wide range of enzyme activities can be found within the biofilm, some of which will greatly affect structural integrity and stability.

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