Multispecies biofilms

Biofilm formationAt Section of Microbiology, we work with several aspects of social bacterial interactions in complex microbial communities, including bacterial biofilms. In a biofilm, bacteria are most commonly attached to a surface and enclosed in a self-produced polymeric matrix. Biofilm-associated bacteria are more resistant to disinfectants, antimicrobial agents and phagocytosis than their planktonic counterparts. This is due to a combination of multiple factors including the protective role of the biofilm matrix, changes gene expression patterns and the characteristic slow growth rate of biofilm-associated bacteria. Moreover, the bacteria are maintained in the specific environment without needing to multiply. Therefore, bacterial biofilms may be hard to eradicate. It has been observed that resilience of biofilms may be further enhanced in multispecies biofilms due to various interspecific interactions and furthermore, the presence of some species provides a protective effect on other species and may shield them from inactivating compounds and grazing. Therefore, species incapable of biofilm formation by them selves may be present in multispecies biofilms, which is of particular interest – and concern – with respect to pathogenic bacteria.

We work mainly with bacterial isolates from natural environments (soil, water etc.), but we also have collaboration with The National Serum Institute, Faculty of Health (KU) and others where more clinical problems are addressed.

Write a project on biofilm

Multispecies Biofilm
Bacteria normally live in so-called biofilms - dense multi-species communities of microorganisms embedded in a self made matrix of extracellular polymeric substances.

In this research topic you will get the opportunity to study how and why different species of bacteria cooperate to form biofilms, if the presence of some species provides a protective effect on other species and hereby shield them from inactivating agents?

Biofilm model system
Cloning and other molecular techniques:
- PCR, qPCR etc.
Confocal microscopy
Image analysis

Biofilms, microbial interactions, evolution, synergy
Supervisor(s):  Mette Burmølle,
Email: & Søren Sørensen, Email:

Growth of fungi on surfaces and degradation thereof
In this project we are interested how different fungi are able to invade and grow on sustainable surfaces either by secreting small proteins called hydrophobins that enable the fungi to revert the hydrophilic/ hydrophobic surface or producing glue.

A project could include:

Sorptionsisotherm measurement,
Scanning electron  microscopy
Determination by antibodies

Keywords:  Sustainable coatings, Hydrophobins, glue, adhesion to surfaces.

Bo Jensen (KU) and Anne Christine Hastrup (Teknologisk Institut)