Dynamics of development and dispersal in sessile microbial communities: examples from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas putida model biofilms


  • Editor: Rustam Aminov

Correspondence: Tim Tolker-Nielsen, BioCentrum-DTU, Building 301, The Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark. Tel.: +45 45 25 27 93; fax: +45 45 88 73 28; e-mail: ttn@biocentrum.dtu.dk


Surface-associated microbial communities in many cases display dynamic developmental patterns. Model biofilms formed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas putida in laboratory flow-chamber setups represent examples of such behaviour. Dependent on the experimental conditions the bacteria in these model biofilms develop characteristic multicellular structures through a series of distinct steps where cellular migration plays an important role. Despite the appearance of these characteristic developmental patterns in the model biofilms the available evidence suggest that the biofilm forming organisms do not possess comprehensive genetic programs for biofilm development. Instead the bacteria appear to have evolved a number of different mechanisms to optimize surface colonization, of which they express a subset in response to the prevailing environmental conditions. These mechanisms include the ability to regulate cellular adhesiveness and migration in response to micro-environmental signals including those secreted by the bacteria themselves.