Biofilms are composed of several different components, including:
- Microorganisms: The primary component of biofilms is microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, yeasts, cyanobacteria, archaebacteria and viruses, which can adhere to a surface and form a community.
- Extracellular matrix: The extracellular matrix is a complex mixture of molecules that the microorganisms secrete and is composed mainly of polysaccharides, proteins, and extracellular DNA. The extracellular matrix surrounds the microorganisms and provides structural support to the biofilm, helping to protect the microorganisms from the environment.
- Water: Biofilms require a moist environment to grow, so water is an important component of biofilms. The water in a biofilm can come from the surrounding environment or from the metabolism of the microorganisms.
- Nutrients: In order to grow and form a biofilm, microorganisms require a source of nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other minerals.
- Oxygen: Some microorganisms require oxygen to survive and form a biofilm, while others can form biofilms in anaerobic conditions.
- Other Inorganic and organic compounds: Some biofilms can also contain other inorganic and organic compounds such as pigments, enzymes and antibiotics, that are produced by the microorganisms.
- Immobilized cells: Dead cells, cellular debris and other metabolic byproducts can also be found in biofilms, these immobilized cells can contribute to the biofilm structure and can act as a source of nutrients for other microorganisms.
It’s worth noting that the composition of a biofilm can vary depending on the microorganisms present and the environmental conditions. The composition of the biofilm can also change over time as microorganisms die and new ones are introduced or as the environment changes.