Overview of microbial biofilms
- Cite this article as:
- Costerton, J. Journal of Industrial Microbiology (1995) 15: 137. doi:10.1007/BF01569816
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As the success of this two-issue special section of the Journal of Industrial Microbiology attests, the study of microbial biofilms is truly burgeoning as the uniqueness and the importance of this mode of growth is increasingly recognized. Because of its universality the biofilm concept impacts virtually all of the subdivisions of Microbiology (including Medical, Dental, Agricultural, Industrial and Environmental) and these two issues incorporate contributions from authors in all of these disciplines. Some time ago we reasoned that bacteria cannot possibly be aware (sic) of their precise location, in terms of this spectrum of anthrocentric subspecialties, and that their behavior must be dictated by a standard set of phenotypic responses to environmental conditions in what must seem to them (sic) to be a continuum of very similar aquatic ecosystems. In this overview I will, therefore, stress the common features of microbial biofilms that we should bear in mind as we use this simple universal concept to seek to understand bacterial behavior in literally hundreds of aquatic ecosystems traditionally studied by dozens of subspecies of microbiologists reared in sharply different scientific and academic conventions.