Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs) prey on Gram-negative bacteria in the planktonic phase as well as in biofilms, with the ability to reduce prey populations by orders of magnitude. During the last few years, evidence has mounted for a significant ecological role for BALOs, with important implications for our understanding of microbial community dynamics as well as for applications against pathogens, including drug-resistant pathogens, in medicine, agriculture and aquaculture, and in industrial settings for various uses. However, our understanding of biofilm predation by BALOs is still very fragmentary, including gaps in their effect on biofilm structure, on prey resistance, and on evolutionary outcomes of both predators and prey. Furthermore, their impact on biofilms has been shown to reach beyond predation, as they are reported to reduce biofilm structures of non-prey cells (including Gram-positive bacteria). Here, we review the available literature on BALOs in biofilms, extending known aspects to potential mechanisms employed by the predators to grow in biofilms. Within that context, we discuss the potential ecological significance and potential future utilization of the predatory and enzymatic possibilities offered by BALOs in medical, agricultural and environmental applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Rajesh Sathyamoorthy for contributing the video.
© 2021 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus/genetics
- Gram-Negative Bacteria