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Biofilms in the world

Biofilms are not only found in natural environments such as ponds and streams. Almost all available surfaces with sufficient nutriment and some water may be colonized by biofilms. The wide variety of environments that can be colonized by biofilms may explain the wide diversity in structure and composition of biofilms.

Biofilms have many implications in human life, being responsible for bad teeth, contaminating medical devices, catheters or implants. They are also a big issue in engineering, blocking pipes and adhering to the hulls of boats. In the natural environment they can also mobilize toxic elements causing stream or soil contamination.

But most biofilms play an important ecological role in their environment and have been used in the area of habitat remediation. Biofilms can be very useful for humans being used in waste water treatment plants and private septic systems to remove pathogens and reduce the amount of organic matter in waste water.

Sources : J. Wimpenny, 2000, An overview of biofilms as functional communities, Society for General Microbiology Symposium59, community structure and co-operation in biofilms

 

 

 

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Stream Biofilm Research Group
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Auckland
3a Symonds Street
Auckland, New Zealand
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streambiofilmgmail.com

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© Stream Biofilm Project, The University of Auckland 2008-2010
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