Biofilms are remarkable communities of microbes that have been shaping the world since the days of primordial ooze. Only now, some 3.4 billion years later, are we beginning to understand the mysteries within their slime-encased ecosystem.

An introduction to the basics of microbial biofilms

Slideshows

Household Biofilms

Household BiofilmsKitchen drainpipe Sink strainerStereo microscope: Sink strainerStereo microscope: Sink strainer Stereo microscope: Faucet cartridge Kitchen sponge Stereo microscope: Kitchen sponge PacifierStereo microscope: PacifierToothbrushStereo microscope: Toothbrush Stereo microscope: Toothbrush bristles ShowerheadStereo microscope: Showerhead Stereo microscope: Shower curtainToilet bowl

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Confocal Scanning Laser Microscopy (CSLM) images of biofilm

Confocal Scanning Laser Microscopy Natasha Mallette, CBE PhD student in chemical and biological engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeCarole Nagant, visiting CBE researcher from Université libre de Bruxelles, BelgiumJames Connolly, CBE PhD student in environmental engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeMelis Penic, CBE undergraduate student in microbiologyMichelle Tigges, CBE PhD student in chemistry and biochemistry, NSF-IGERT awardeeKristopher Hunt, CBE PhD student in chemical and biological engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeHans Bernstein, CBE PhD student in chemical and biological engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeKaren Moll, CBE MS student in chemical and biological engineeringMelis Penic, CBE undergraduate student in microbiologyCarole Nagant, visiting CBE researcher from Université libre de Bruxelles, BelgiumTisza Bell, CBE PhD student in microbiology and NSF- IGERT awardeeAlessandra Agostinho, DDS, CBE research scientistNatasha Mallette, CBE PhD student in chemical and biological engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeBetsey Pitts, CBE microscope facilities managerCarole Nagant, visiting CBE researcher from Université libre de Bruxelles, BelgiumBetsey Pitts, CBE microscope facilities managerNatasha Mallette, CBE PhD student in chemical and biological engineering, NSF-IGERT awardeeCarole Nagant, visiting CBE researcher from Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

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A brief history “biofilm”

  • Anthony van Leewenhoek described them, but it was a long time before we called them “biofilms.”

Poster: CBE's “Essential biofilm concepts and phenomena”

  • This poster was created in recognition of the CBE's 20th Anniversary as an NSF Engineering Research Center. It provides a concise overview of 13 important fundamental biofilm concepts developed at the CBE. It also includes a list of Selected Publications references for further information about each of the concepts.

Learn more in BIOFILMS: The Hypertextbook

  • Biofilms: The Hypertextbook is a National Science Foundation-funded project (grant numbers 0089397 and 0618744) to create a comprehensive, high-quality, active-learning, web-based, dynamic teaching and learning resource for education in biofilms. The project involves researchers from the Center for Biofilm Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at Montana State University as well as numerous collaborators and evaluators from around the world.

Biofilm Facts

Search CBE publications

Learn about biofilm multicellular strategies for survival, below

Multicellularity gives biofilm survival advantages, (c) 2003 MSU-CBE

  1. Biofilm strategies: Waiting to grow
  2. Biofilm strategies: Initial attachment
  3. Biofilm strategies: Building communities
  4. Biofilm strategies: Meeting antimicrobial challenges
  5. Biofilm strategies: Gradients and niches
  6. Biofilm strategies: Nutrient transport
  7. Biofilm strategies: Detachment
  8. Biofilm strategies: Signaling
  9. Biofilm strategies: Differentiation