Microbial Ecology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 153–162 | Cite as

Bacterial Community Structure of Biofilms on Artificial Surfaces in an Estuary

  • Paul R. Jones
  • Matthew T. CottrellEmail author
  • David L. Kirchman
  • Stephen C. Dexter


This study examined bacterial community structure of biofilms on stainless steel and polycarbonate in seawater from the Delaware Bay. Free-living bacteria in the surrounding seawater were compared to the attached bacteria during the first few weeks of biofilm growth. Surfaces exposed to seawater were analyzed by using 16S rDNA libraries, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Community structure of the free-living bacterial community was different from that of the attached bacteria according to FISH and DGGE. In particular, alpha-proteobacteria dominated the attached communities. Libraries of 16S rRNA genes revealed that representatives of the Rhodobacterales clade were the most abundant members of biofilm communities. Changes in community structure during biofilm growth were also examined by DGGE analysis. We hypothesized that bacterial communities on dissimilar surfaces would initially differ and become more similar over time. In contrast, the compositions of stainless steel and polycarbonate biofilms were initially the same, but differed after about 1 week of biofilm growth. These data suggest that the relationship between surface properties and biofilm community structure changes as biofilms grow on surfaces such as stainless steel and polycarbonate in estuarine water.


Clone Library Artificial Surface Stainless Steel Foil Microbiologically Influence Corrosion Attached Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (N00014-05-1-0201) and the U.S. Department of Energy BIOMP (DF-FG02-97 ER 62479). We thank Liying Yu for her invaluable guidance and assistance. The efforts of Olivia Hauser were instrumental during the initial phases of the molecular work and Xia Bai's help with the seawater exposure experiments was greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul R. Jones
    • 1
  • Matthew T. Cottrell
    • 1
    Email author
  • David L. Kirchman
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Dexter
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine and Earth StudiesUniversity of DelawareLewesUSA

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