Engineering biofilm formation and dispersal

Thomas K. Wood, Seok Hoon Hong, Qun Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anywhere water is in the liquid state, bacteria will exist as biofilms, which are complex communities of cells that are cemented together. Although frequently associated with disease and biofouling, biofilms are also important for engineering applications, such as bioremediation, biocatalysis and microbial fuel cells. Here, we review approaches to alter genetic circuits and cell signaling towards controlling biofilm formation, and emphasize utilizing these tools for engineering applications. Based on a better understanding of the genetic basis of biofilm formation, we find that biofilms might be controlled by manipulating extracellular signals, and that they might be dispersed using conserved intracellular signals and regulators. Biofilms could also be formed at specific locations where they might be engineered to make chemicals or treat human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering

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