Combating biofilms


Correspondence: Liang Yang, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark. Tel.: +45 452 52526; fax: +45 452 52513; e-mail:


Biofilms are complex microbial communities consisting of microcolonies embedded in a matrix of self-produced polymer substances. Biofilm cells show much greater resistance to environmental challenges including antimicrobial agents than their free-living counterparts. The biofilm mode of life is believed to significantly contribute to successful microbial survival in hostile environments. Conventional treatment, disinfection and cleaning strategies do not proficiently deal with biofilm-related problems, such as persistent infections and contamination of food production facilities. In this review, strategies to control biofilms are discussed, including those of inhibition of microbial attachment, interference of biofilm structure development and differentiation, killing of biofilm cells and induction of biofilm dispersion.