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Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 41; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040041

EPS—Then and Now

1
Biofilm Centre, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstrasse 5, Essen 45141, Germany
2
Singapore Center for Life Science Engineering (SCELSE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637551, Singapore
3
Water Academy, Licherstrasse 24, Frankfurt 60389, Germany
Academic Editor: Rikke Louise Meyer
Received: 8 October 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biofilm Matrix)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7648 KB, uploaded 18 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

“Slime” played a brief and spectacular role in the 19th century founded by the theory of primordial slime by Ernst Haeckel. However, that substance was never found and eventually abandoned. Further scientific attention slowly began in the 1930s referring to slime as a microbial product and then was inspired by “How bacteria stick” by Costerton et al. in 1978, and the matrix material was considered to be polysaccharides. Later, it turned out that proteins, nucleic acids and lipids were major other constituents of the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), an acronym which was highly discussed. The role of the EPS matrix turns out to be fundamental for biofilms, in terms of keeping cells in proximity and allowing for extended interaction, resource capture, mechanical strength and other properties, which emerge from the life of biofilm organisms, including enhanced tolerance to antimicrobials and other stress. The EPS components are extremely complex and dynamic and fulfil many functional roles, turning biofilms into the most ubiquitous and successful form of life on Earth. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofilms; EPS; emergent properties; nutrient acquisition; tolerance; resistance biofilms; EPS; emergent properties; nutrient acquisition; tolerance; resistance
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Flemming, H.-C. EPS—Then and Now. Microorganisms 2016, 4, 41.

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