Many bacteria can exist as surface-attached aggregations known as biofilms. Presented in this unit are several approaches for the study of these communities. The focus here is on static biofilm systems, which are particularly useful for examination of the early stages of biofilm formation, including initial adherence to the surface and microcolony formation. Furthermore, most of the techniques presented are easily adapted to the study of biofilms under a variety of conditions and are suitable for either small- or relatively large-scale studies. Unlike assays involving continuous-flow systems, the static biofilm assays described here require very little specialized equipment and are relatively simple to execute. In addition, these static biofilm systems allow analysis of biofilm formation with a variety of readouts, including microscopy of live cells, macroscopic visualization of stained bacteria, and viability counts. Used individually or in combination, these assays provide useful means for the study of biofilms.
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