The biofilm matrix

Biofilm The microorganisms in biofilms live in a self-produced matrix of hydrated extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that form their immediate environment. EPS are mainly polysaccharides, proteins, nucleic acids and lipids; they provide the mechanical stability of biofilms, mediate their adhesion to surfaces and form a cohesive, three-dimensional polymer network that interconnects and transiently immobilizes biofilm cells. In addition, the biofilm matrix acts as an external digestive system by keeping extracellular enzymes close to the cells, enabling them to metabolize dissolved, colloidal and solid biopolymers. This paper describes the functions, properties and constituents of the EPS matrix that make biofilms the most successful forms of life on earth.

The biofilm matrix. 2010 Nature Reviews Microbiology 8: 623-633 doi:10.1038/nrmicro2415


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