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Extracellular DNA in bacterial biofilms


Recent scientific publications show that extracellular DNA (eDNA) is more important in bacterial biofilms than previously thought. It has been shown that eDNA, as a structural component of the EPS (extracellular polymeric substances), makes an important contribution to the stability of bacterial biofilms and that experimental removal of the eDNA leads to altered biofilm morphologies. In recent years several bacterial strains in which EPS filaments from extracellular DNA could be detected have been isolated in the field of environmental microbiology.

Currently there is no detailed knowledge about the functions of the eDNA in biofilm formation and under what conditions it is formed. The mechanism of eDNA export elimination from the cell as well as its physicochemical and molecular biological properties have not yet been clarified.

The cultivation of eDNA-forming species in continuous biofilm reactors allows the investigation of eDNA created under defined conditions. It forms the basis for a further contribution of the elucidation of the structure and function of extracellular DNA in biofilms. In addition to microbiological methods, modern microscopy (e.g., confocal laser scanning microscopy) and molecular biology techniques are used.

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Head of Chair

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Szewzyk
sec. BH 6-1
Room BH-N 604
Tel +49 30 314 73 461