Biofilms are remarkable communities of microorganisms that have been shaping the world since the days of early life. Only now, some 3.5 billion years later, are we beginning to understand the mysteries within their slime-encased ecosystem.

An introduction to the basics of microbial biofilms


Household Biofilms

Introduction to Household BiofilmsPicture of a Kitchen drainpipe Picture of a Sink strainerStereo microscope picture: Sink strainerStereo microscope picture: Sink strainer Stereo microscope picture: Faucet cartridge Picture of a Kitchen sponge Stereo microscope picture: Kitchen sponge Picture of a PacifierStereo microscope picture: PacifierPicture of a ToothbrushStereo microscope picture: Toothbrush Stereo microscope picture: Toothbrush bristles Picture of a ShowerheadStereo microscope picture: Showerhead Stereo microscope picture: Shower curtainPicture of a Toilet bowl

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Confocal Scanning Laser Microscopy (CSLM) images of biofilm

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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

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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