Antibiotic Resistance and Tolerance in Bacterial Biofilms

  • Geoffrey McKayEmail author
  • Dao Nguyen
Reference work entry


Bacteria can grow as multicellular communities called biofilms, and this sessile lifestyle is distinct from planktonic growth. While microbial biofilms are ubiquitous in the natural and industrial environment, their importance in human infections has only been fully recognized in the past few decades. Biofilm-associated bacteria typically cause subacute and chronic infections. Many bacterial pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus, readily form biofilms, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes chronic airway infections in patients with cystic fibrosis, is an important model organism for biofilm studies. They are clinically significant due to their persistence despite sustained antimicrobial treatments and adequate host defenses. Biofilm bacteria are highly resistant to a wide range of antimicrobial compounds and disinfectants, and the mechanisms underlying this resistance are likely multifactorial. This chapter will review the cellular processes and pathways implicated in antibiotic resistance and tolerance of bacterial biofilms.


Biofilms Antibiotic Resistance Tolerance Infections Pseudomonas aeruginosa 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Research Institute of McGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada

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