About this Research Topic
Microbial biofilms are highly structured microbial communities associated with or attached to a surface where the microbial cells are enclosed within a self-produced extracellular matrix. The ability to grow as biofilms represents an essential strategy for the colonization and survival of microorganisms in natural environments. Since early observations, biofilms made by pathogenic bacterial species (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus) have been extensively studied. Similarly, most of the knowledge accumulated on fungal biofilms arises from the implication in human pathogenesis of fungi such as Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, Pneumocystis, and particularly the yeast Candida albicans. Notwithstanding these negative aspects, microbial biofilms play also positive roles in the production of many different goods and in the biological control of pathogens.
Given the general negative perception of microbial biofilms, the main goal of this article collection is to highlight the importance of those with positive effects, particularly in the food realm. For example, the formation of biofilm by Saccharomyces cerevisiae is essential for the biological aging of some special wines or acetic acid bacteria biofilm in the production of vinegars and other fermented products. Similarly, the formation of biofilms on food surfaces by positive bacterial species has been considered an interesting method to increase the intake of probiotic microorganisms in human and animal diets. In addition, biofilm forming ability has been indicated as one of the characters to be evaluated for a rapid screening of biocontrol agents.
The Research Topic will be deepened through the selection of high-quality scientific articles dedicated to the study and characterization of microbial biofilms:
• description of “positive” microbial biofilms in food production,
• identification of environmental effectors and molecular mechanisms involved in biofilm formation and dispersal,
• biotechnological strategies to improve microbial biofilm formation on foodstuff,
• biofilm as biocontrol agents,
• biofilm in reuse and valorization of by-products from the food chain,
• biofilm as tools of decontamination and bioremediation of waste waters of the food industry,
• influence of the persistence of biofilm cells on the evolution of food- and host-associated microbiota.
Keywords: microbial biofilms, food, biocontrol, reutilization, bioremediation
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