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Viruses can hijack bacterial immune systems and use it against them.

March 3, 2013

Viruses can hijack bacterial immune systems and use it against them.

Sorry that’s my bad, metabolically inert is misleading. What I meant to say is that they don’t tend to be growing at a rapid rate (ie dividing) although they are still taking in nutrients. Of course it is different from Endospores which for all intents and purposes are in suspended animation. Biofilms are often called the city of microbes. A biofilm is essentially a slime layer consisting of polysaccharides, proteins, DNA and other structures. First and foremost, the biofilm provides a protective layer. It is both a physical and chemical barrier that can prevent the entry of drugs or chemicals to kill the cells inside. The thing I find the most amazing about it is that it contains water channels that let in nutrients and gases and also have water channels to take away bacterial waste products! The other thing about biofilms are that depending on how developed they are the deeper layers won’t have a lot of oxygen diffusing so the bacteria that survive in the layers will have to be anaerobic. This is what I meant by the fact they won’t really be doing much in terms of growth (apologies again for the misleading before). So to answer your question, a biofilm is what most bacteria in nature exist as. This obviously has an impact on antibiotic doses and chemicals. It is sadly a Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm that eventually causes mortality in cystic fibrosis patients. The biofilm makes the cells very resistant to antibiotics and it is really hard to shift once it is established. If you want a more benign version of a biofilm then you only need to scrape your teeth after a long day or look down at the slime layer down your sink. Good luck with your future career, I doubt it is the last you will have seen of biofilms. 🙂

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