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Reducing bioflims

A Bite out of Biofilms

"Biofouling" by barnacles and other organisms begins with a biofilm, a layer of microbes adhering to a ship hull or other hard surface. Biofilms form (1) when bacteria settle onto the surface, where they proliferate (2) and produce slime. Most efforts to combat biofouling have targeted these steps. Based on his recent research, WHOI biochemist Ben Van Mooy thinks a better approach might be to enhance the processes that naturally reduce the size of biofilms, including detachment of some of the bacteria (3) and predation. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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