Fundamental research on biofilm science has been focused on the mechanisms of biofilm formation; physiology of biofilm cells and biofilm structure and ecology. The initial advent of biofilm formation is one of the major research interests. The group has been studying the interactions between microbial cells and biotic and abiotic surfaces by determining the adhesion capability of several microbial isolates to materials (both food-contacting surfaces and health related materials such as catheters and prostheses) and mammalian tissue (endothelial and epithelial cell lines). The influence of the surface properties of the materials (charge, hydrophobicity and roughness), the adhesion media and the composition of the microbial cells in the adhesion process has been thoroughly evaluated.
Another significant topic of this thematic area is the physiology of the adhered microorganisms. Special emphasis has been given to the evaluation and determination of the factors involved in the tolerance of biofilm strains of important clinical bacteria to antibiotics and antifungal agents, respectively. Also, the virulence of clinical strains triggered by the sessile mode of life has been evaluated. Other studies assess the physiology and survival ability of bacteria (e.g. H. pylori and L. pneumophila) in biofilms formed in drinking water distribution systems (DWDS) and infer about the possibility of water acting as a vehicle of transmission between human hosts;
As far as biofilm structure is concerned, dedicated techniques available in CEB such as confocal scanning laser microscopy and 2-D electrophoresis of the matrix composition have been giving new insights about biofilm 3D architecture and composition of biofilms formed in different conditions. Structure and composition are highly affected by interactions between different species (biofilm ecology), and the group has also been particularly keen in addressing this subject by learning how these interactions might affect biofilms and by developing new molecular methods for the discrimination between microorganisms.