Studying bacterial multispecies biofilms: where to start?

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The high prevalence and significance of multispecies biofilms have now been demonstrated in various bacterial habitats with medical, industrial, and ecological relevance. It is highly evident that several species of bacteria coexist and interact in biofilms, which highlights the need for evaluating the approaches used to study these complex communities. This review focuses on the establishment of multispecies biofilms in vitro, interspecies interactions in microhabitats, and how to select communities for evaluation. Studies have used different experimental approaches; here we evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of varying the degree of complexity. This review aims to facilitate multispecies biofilm research in order to expand the current limited knowledge on interspecies interactions. Recent technological advances have enabled total diversity analysis of highly complex and diverse microbial communities, but the identity and significance of interspecies bacterial interactions is neglected in these analyses. There is therefore an urgent need for bridging the gap between metagenomic analysis and in vitro models suitable for studies of bacterial interactions.Bacterial interactions and coadaptation are important at the microscale of complex communities, including biofilms.Studies of multispecies biofilms and the interactions shaping these are conducted in traditional approaches used for single-species biofilms with some adjustments; but a crucial point for consideration is which strains to combine and where these should be obtained from.Analysis of multispecies biofilms becomes increasingly complicated when enhancing community complexity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Bacterial interactions, Biofilm, Communities, in vitro, Multispecies

ID: 161240449