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Biofilms: Building bacterial cities

Biofilms: Building bacterial cities. University of Dundee
Team Dundee, from left to right: Dr Laura Hobley, Dr Emma Bissett, Ms Erin Hardee, Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall and Dr Emma Sheils. Sofia Ferreira not shown. Image: University of Dundee

The team

From the University of Dundee:

  • Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall
  • Dr Emma Sheils
  • Ms Emma Bissett
  • Ms Erin Hardee
  • Dr Laura Hobley
  • Dr Sofia Ferreira

The science behind the exhibit

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that form large, social communities called biofilms. A commonly encountered example of a biofilm is dental plaque. Bacteria within a biofilm are encased in a self-produced, "sticky coat", the biofilm matrix. This matrix protects cells within the biofilm from both physical and chemical stress and means that biofilms are often impervious to antibiotics. Therefore biofilms have profound global effects on human health and in various medical and industrial sectors. Understanding how biofilms form is critical to the development of novel antibiotics and to harnessing the power of the social biofilm community for beneficial purposes.

About the exhibit

  • Build and blast your own bacterial city
  • Learn where bacterial cities lurk in your home, neighbourhood and on you…
  • Meet and have your photo taken with “Micro the Magnificent” our giant microbe



These images are protected by copyright law and may be used with acknowledgement.

Biofilms: Building bacterial cities

Copyright: University of Dundee Model bacteria for blast a biofilm game 

Copyright: University of Dundee

Copyright: University of Dundee Bacillus subtilis 

The biofilm formed by the bacterium called Bacillus subtilis is water repellent and here rainbow coloured water droplets have been placed on top.

Copyright: University of Dundee

Copyright: University of Dundee Blasting a model biofilm 

Copyright: University of Dundee