Send to

Choose Destination
Adv Sci (Weinh). 2019 Sep 19;6(22):1901408. doi: 10.1002/advs.201901408. eCollection 2019 Nov.

Natural Microbial Communities Can Be Manipulated by Artificially Constructed Biofilms.

Author information

Department of Environmental Sciences Jožef Stefan Institute Jamova cesta 39 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia.
Institute of Metagenomics and Microbial Technologies Clevelandska ulica 19 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia.
Systems and Synthetic Biology Chalmers University of Technology Kemivägen 10 412 96 Göteborg Sweden.
Systems Bioinformatics Faculty of Science Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105 1081 HV Amsterdam The Netherlands.


Biofouling proceeds in successive steps where the primary colonizers affect the phylogenetic and functional structure of a future microbial consortium. Using microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) as a study case, a novel approach for material surface protection is described, which does not prevent biofouling, but rather shapes the process of natural biofilm development to exclude MIC-related microorganisms. This approach interferes with the early steps of natural biofilm formation affecting how the community is finally developed. It is based on a multilayer artificial biofilm, composed of electrostatically modified bacterial cells, producing antimicrobial compounds, extracellular antimicrobial polyelectrolyte matrix, and a water-proof rubber elastomer barrier. The artificial biofilm is constructed layer-by-layer (LBL) by manipulating the electrostatic interactions between microbial cells and material surfaces. Field testing on standard steel coupons exposed in the sea for more than 30 days followed by laboratory analyses using molecular-biology tools demonstrate that the preapplied artificial biofilm affects the phylogenetic structure of the developing natural biofilm, reducing phylogenetic diversity and excluding MIC-related bacteria. This sustainable solution for material protection showcases the usefulness of artificially guiding microbial evolutionary processes via the electrostatic modification and controlled delivery of bacterial cells and extracellular matrix to the exposed material surfaces.


16S rRNA; bacteria; layer‐by‐layer (LBL); metagenomic; nanolayers; polyelectrolytes

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center