Biofilms are associated colonies of microorganisms embedded in a self-produced matrix ox extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). These confer several functions such as: mechanical support for biofilm structure, water retention and extracellular nutrition and space for enzyme reactions, as well as protection against several stresses such as dissecation, UV radiation and oxidative damage. The biofilm lifestyle, which is widespread in all microorganisms confers them unique new properties. Consequently, their study is essential to understand and influence several microbial related processes such as persistent infections, biocorrosion, bioleaching and biofouling.
The research in the Institute aims to understand the biofilm lifestyle, EPS production as well as cell to cell interaction processes in single and mixed species biofilms of microorganisms. These are mainly involved in metal-oxidizing and biocorrosion processes, among others. For this we use advanced microscopy techniques and molecular studies at high throughput levels.