Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel


  • Joachim Reitner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_27


Nearly all hard surfaces exhibit biofilms, organic coatings of microbial cells which are enclosed in extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Biofilms interact between hard substrates such as minerals and rocks, water bodies, and the atmosphere. Metabolic exchange processes controlled by biofilms, globally influence bio-geochemical cycles.

Biofilms and microbial mats are benthic systems formed by different microbial communities which secrete hydrated mucus substances (EPS) (e.g., Characklis and Wilderer, 1989; Costerton et al., 1987, 1995) in various amounts. These EPS substances are mainly polysaccharides, glycoproteins, exoenzymes, and nucleic acids (Sutherland, 1977; Decho, 1990; Wingender et al., 1999). Biofilms and microbial mats display a continuous spectrum ranging from thin micrometer-sized coatings of mono-specific and poly-specific microbial populations up to centimeter thick communities of various microbes such as archaea, bacteria, eukaryotic algae, fungi, and...


Microbial Community Extracellular Polymeric Substance Organic Coating Calcite Precipitation Eukaryotic Alga 
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.
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Reitner
    • 1
  1. 1.Geobiology Group Geoscience CenterUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany