Bacterial Inhibitors of Adhesion of Marine Biofilm Bacteria
On virtually every submerged surface in natural waters, colonies of microorganisms produce biofilms composed of the microbes themselves and their extracellular products. In many cases, these biofilms serve as a precursor to the settlement of barnacles and other organisms which can foul marine surfaces, such as the hulls of ships and water intake pipes.
Remedies for this biofouling are often costly and environmentally damaging. Observations have shown, however, that some bacteria actually inhibit the attachment of other microbes.
In this project, Robert Burchard has been examining interactions of marine biofilm bacteria, where an extracellular polymer produced by one strain inhibits the adhesion and spread of other biofilm species. He has been working to purify the polymer and to characterize its molecular features. These studies are advancing our understanding of the dynamics of biofilm formation and could lead to the development of biologically based, environmentally safe, inhibitors to biofilm formation and biofouling.
Robert P. Burchard
Center of Marine Biotechnology
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute