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Cytometry A. 2009 Feb;75(2):90-103. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20685.

Insight into the microbial multicellular lifestyle via flow-cell technology and confocal microscopy.

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Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.


Biofilms are agglomerates of microorganisms surrounded by a self-produced extracellular matrix. During the last 10 years, there has been an increasing recognition of biofilms as a highly significant topic in microbiology with relevance for a variety of areas in our society including the environment, industry, and human health. Accordingly a number of biofilm model systems, molecular tools, microscopic techniques, and image analysis programs have been employed for the study of biofilms under controlled and reproducible conditions. Studies using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) of biofilms formed in flow-chamber experimental systems by genetically color-coded bacteria have provided detailed knowledge about biofilm developmental processes, cell differentiations, spatial organization, and function of laboratory-grown biofilms, in some cases down to the single cell level. In addition, the molecular mechanisms underlying the increased tolerance that biofilm cells often display towards antibiotic treatment are beginning to be unravelled.

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