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Biotechnol Adv. 2004 Nov;22(8):633-58.

Immobilized viable microbial cells: from the process to the proteome em leader or the cart before the horse.

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  • 1UMR 6522 CNRS and European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP 23), University of Rouen, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan Cedex, France.


Biotechnological processes based on immobilized viable cells have developed rapidly over the last 30 years. For a long time, basic studies of the physiological behaviour of immobilized cells (IC) have remained in the shadow of the applications. Natural IC structures, i.e. biofilms, are being increasingly investigated at the cellular level owing to their definite importance for human health and in various areas of industrial and environmental relevance. This review illustrates this paradoxical development of research on ICs, starting from the initial rationale for IC emergence and main application fields of the technology--with particular emphasis on those that exploit the extraordinary resistance of ICs to antimicrobial compounds--to recent advances in the proteomic approach of IC physiology.

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