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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Mar;6(3):199-210. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1838.

Physiological heterogeneity in biofilms.

Author information

  • 1Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717-3980, USA. phil_s@erc.montana.edu

Abstract

Biofilms contain bacterial cells that are in a wide range of physiological states. Within a biofilm population, cells with diverse genotypes and phenotypes that express distinct metabolic pathways, stress responses and other specific biological activities are juxtaposed. The mechanisms that contribute to this genetic and physiological heterogeneity include microscale chemical gradients, adaptation to local environmental conditions, stochastic gene expression and the genotypic variation that occurs through mutation and selection. Here, we discuss the processes that generate chemical gradients in biofilms, the genetic and physiological responses of the bacteria as they adapt to these gradients and the techniques that can be used to visualize and measure the microscale physiological heterogeneities of bacteria in biofilms.

PMID:
18264116
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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