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Single-species microbial biofilm screening for industrial applications


While natural microbial biofilms often consist of multiple species, single-species biofilms are of great interest to biotechnology. The current study evaluates biofilm formation for common industrial and laboratory microorganisms. A total of 68 species of biosafety level one bacteria and yeasts from over 40 different genera and five phyla were screened by growing them in microtiter plates and estimating attached biomass by crystal violet staining. Most organisms showed biofilm formation on surfaces of polystyrene within 24 h. By changing a few simple conditions such as substratum characteristics, inoculum and nutrient availability, 66 strains (97%) demonstrated biofilm formation under at least one of the experimental conditions and over half of these strains were classified as strong biofilm formers, potentially suitable as catalysts in biofilm applications. Many non-motile bacteria were also strong biofilm formers. Biofilm morphologies were visualized for selected strains. A model organism, Zymomonas mobilis, easily established itself as a biofilm on various reactor packing materials, including stainless steel.

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The financial support of this project by BASF is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank Martin Schneider Maschinenfabrik, Germany for providing stainless steel Raschig rings used in this study.

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Correspondence to Bettina Rosche.

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Li, X.Z., Hauer, B. & Rosche, B. Single-species microbial biofilm screening for industrial applications. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76, 1255–1262 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1108-4

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  • Biofilm
  • Screening
  • Bacteria
  • Yeast
  • Biotransformation
  • Industrial application