Recently I came across a wonderful review by Dragoš and Kovács in Trends in Microbiology (Cell Press). Here, they succinctly summarize alternative roles of biofilms, namely the extracellular matrix of proteins, eDNA and polysaccharides. Of interest to me, as I have previously studied biofilm infections and their tolerance to antibiotics during treatment, was the genetic exchange and migration that can happen. This would be particularly useful for bacteria that lack flagella, yet can still use the ECM to move around. Also, as we know, signaling (quorum sensing) in bacteria is also extremely important for these single celled organisms to function as a community.
Take some time and read this review, I was excited to share it with my Infectious Diseases class yesterday.