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Biofilms are a well-characterized mode of microbial growth of both single and multi-species populations. They are associated with community and cooperative behaviors that are different to those of individual bacteria living as single cells. For example, bacteria within biofilms become aggregated together and are protected by a self-produced, slimy extracellular matrix comprised of various biopolymers.
They also become much more tolerant to antimicrobial compounds than their single-cell counterparts. In essence, the microbiome is the community of organisms present, and biofilms represent the habitat and biological environment in which the cells grow, evolve and adapt to their surroundings.
Research into the skin microbiome and biofilms represents two microbial disciplines that are particularly relevant to skin conditions; e.g., acne and atopic dermatitis. A combined, more holistic understanding of the interaction between the microbiome and biofilms will, in the future, strengthen our understanding of the link between certain microbes and disease states. Although the personal care industry focuses on healthy skin, understanding the role of biofilms in the pathogenesis and progression of acne and eczema should be of interest.
The following is a collection of insights from academic partners of the UK-based National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), which explores “hot spots” and opportunities related to this field. (See About NBIC sidebar in the digital magazine.)
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