Antimicrobial activity of surface attached marine bacteria in biofilms

George S. Wilson*, David A. Raftos, Sham V. Nair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Relatively little is known about the microbial ecology of biofilm communities or the diversity of antimicrobial molecules that they produce to regulate these communities. This study tested whether the production of antimicrobial activity in biofilm cultures is enhanced towards competing bacteria found in those biofilms. First, the production of antimicrobial activity of marine bacteria grown in biofilms was tested. Fourteen of the 105 marine isolates tested were found to produce antimicrobial factors when grown in biofilms. The antimicrobial activity produced by these isolates in biofilms was more potent and inhibited a broader range of target bacteria grown in biofilms compared to shaken liquid cultures. In a separate experiment, we found that cultivation in biofilms containing produced metabolites from an 'inducer' bacterium stimulated the production of antimicrobial molecules by 'producer' bacteria that were active against the 'inducer' bacterium. Overall, the study suggests that surface attached marine bacteria can target their antimicrobial activity towards competing bacteria in biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-448
Number of pages12
JournalMicrobiological Research
Issue number6
Early online date25 Sep 2010
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2011

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