What Drives Bacteria To Produce A Biofilm?
What drives bacteria to produce a biofilm?
One particularly important and clinically relevant example of bacterial adaptation through systemized gene expression is the ability to grow as part of a sessile, exopolymer-
enshrouded community referred to as a biofilm.
It is now accepted that bacteria in biofilms are responsible for a number of chronic and acute infections and also acquire antibiotic resistance to therapeutic drugs. Thus there is a need to understand why do bacteria form biofilms? If we can understand this then the biofilm associated bacterial diseases can also be studied and cured accordingly.
Reasons for biofilm formation:
Biofilm formation in response to stress: Bacteria would prefer to form biofilm because it would give them protection to withstand nutrient deprivation, pH changes, oxygen radicals, disinfectants, and antibiotics better than planktonic organisms.
Biofilm formation as a mechanism to remain in favorable niche: Microorganisms continuously try to remain in the human bodies as here they get proper nutrition as well as environment. But humans have developed various protective agents like immune system. Bacteria thus have tried hard to remain in human body and biofilm formation in the body is one of the adaptations made by bacteria to remain in human body. Bacteria have a number of strategies to ensure their survival in human body like bacterial surface proteins that bind to host extracellular matrix proteins such as fibrinogen, vitronectin, and elastin.
Are biofilms multicellular organisms?
There are indeed similarities between biofilms and multicellular organisms. But in biofilms bacteria do not differentiate, rather they respond to environmental surroundings by adapting their gene expression to suit their own needs for survival. Biofilms are thus interactive communities rather than multicellular organisms.
In addition to the advantage of resistance to environmental changes, the biofilm may benefit from a number of properties of communal existence including division of metabolic burden, gene transfer, and selfless behavior.
The biofilm mode of bacterial growth that gives them so many advantages thus should be considered as their default mode of growth.