Spatio-temporal assembly of functional mineral scaffolds within microbial biofilms

Condensed Matter journal club

Spatio-temporal assembly of functional mineral scaffolds within microbial biofilms

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 18th March 2016
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


Historically, multicellular bacterial communities, known as biofilms, have been thought to be held together solely by a self-produced extracellular matrix. Our study identified a novel mechanism maintaining Bacillus subtilis and Mycobacterium smegmatis biofilms-active production of calcite minerals. We studied, for the first time, the effects of mutants defective in biomineralization and calcite formation on biofilm development, resilience and morphology. We demonstrated that an intrinsic rise in carbon dioxide levels within the biofilm is a strong trigger for the initiation of calcite-dependent patterning. The calcitedependent patterns provide resistance to environmental insults and increase the overall fitness of the microbial community. Our results suggest that it is highly feasible that the formation of mineral scaffolds plays a cardinal and conserved role in bacterial multicellularity.
npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 2 15031 (2016)
pdf version


Yaara Oppenheimer-Shaanan, Odelia Sibony-Nevo, Zohar Bloom-Ackermann, Ronit Suissa, Nitai Steinberg, Elena Kartvelishvily, Vlad Brumfeld, Ilana Kolodkin-Gal

About Condensed Matter journal club

Given the diversity of research in the CM group, chosen topics vary widely. We tend to stick to high-impact journals - Nature, Science, PNAS and PRL have been popular - but this is not prescriptive..

Find out more about Condensed Matter journal club.