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Int J Oral Sci. 2011 Apr;3(2):74-81. doi: 10.4248/IJOS11027.

Current understanding of multi-species biofilms.

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Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, DK-2800, Denmark.


Direct observation of a wide range of natural microorganisms has revealed the fact that the majority of microbes persist as surface-attached communities surrounded by matrix materials, called biofilms. Biofilms can be formed by a single bacterial strain. However, most natural biofilms are actually formed by multiple bacterial species. Conventional methods for bacterial cleaning, such as applications of antibiotics and/or disinfectants are often ineffective for biofilm populations due to their special physiology and physical matrix barrier. It has been estimated that billions of dollars are spent every year worldwide to deal with damage to equipment, contaminations of products, energy losses, and infections in human beings resulted from microbial biofilms. Microorganisms compete, cooperate, and communicate with each other in multi-species biofilms. Understanding the mechanisms of multi-species biofilm formation will facilitate the development of methods for combating bacterial biofilms in clinical, environmental, industrial, and agricultural areas. The most recent advances in the understanding of multi-species biofilms are summarized and discussed in the review.

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