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Disturbance frequency determines morphology and community development in multi-species biofilm at the landscape scale

Abstract : Many natural and engineered biofilm systems periodically face disturbances. Here we present how the recovery time of a biofilm between disturbances (expressed as disturbance frequency) shapes the development of morphology and community structure in a multi-species biofilm at the landscape scale. It was hypothesized that a high disturbance frequency favors the development of a stable adapted biofilm system while a low disturbance frequency promotes a dynamic biofilm response. Biofilms were grown in laboratory-scale reactors over a period of 55-70 days and exposed to the biocide monochloramine at two frequencies: daily or weekly pulse injections. One untreated reactor served as control. Biofilm morphology and community structure were followed on comparably large biofilm areas at the landscape scale using automated image analysis (spatial gray level dependence matrices) and community fingerprinting (single-strand conformation polymorphisms). We demonstrated that a weekly disturbed biofilm developed a resilient morphology and community structure. Immediately after the disturbance, the biofilm simplified but recovered its initial complex morphology and community structure between two biocide pulses. In the daily treated reactor, one organism largely dominated a morphologically simple and stable biofilm. Disturbances primarily affected the abundance distribution of already present bacterial taxa but did not promote growth of previously undetected organisms. Our work indicates that disturbances can be used as lever to engineer biofilms by maintaining a biofilm between two developmental states.
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Kim Milferstedt, Jean-Jacques Godon, Renaud Escudie, Nicolas Bernet. Disturbance frequency determines morphology and community development in multi-species biofilm at the landscape scale. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (11), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0080692⟩. ⟨hal-02642571⟩

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