Topography and expansion patterns at the biofilm-agar interface in bacillus subtilis biofilms

Sarah Gingichashvili*, Osnat Feuerstein, Doron Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Bacterial biofilms are complex microbial communities which are formed on various natural and synthetic surfaces. In contrast to bacteria in their planktonic form, biofilms are characterized by their relatively low susceptibility to anti-microbial treatments, in part due to limited diffusion throughout the biofilm and the complex distribution of bacterial cells within. The virulence of biofilms is therefore a combination of structural properties and patterns of adhesion that anchor them to their host surface. In this paper, we analyze the topographical properties of Bacillus subtilis’ biofilmagar interface across different growth conditions. B. subtilis colonies were grown to maturity on biofilm-promoting agar-based media (LBGM), under standard and stress-inducing growth conditions. The biofilm-agar interface of the colony type biofilms was modeled using confocal microscopy and computational analysis. Profilometry data was obtained from the macrocolonies and used for the analysis of surface topography as it relates to the adhesion modes present at the biofilm-agar interface. Fluorescent microspheres were utilized to monitor the expansion patterns present at the interface between the macrocolonies and the solid growth medium. Contact surface analysis reveals topographical changes that could have a direct effect on the adhesion strength of the biofilm to its host surface, thus affecting its potential susceptibility to anti-microbial agents. The topographical characteristics of the biofilm-agar interface partially define the macrocolony structure and may have significant effects on bacterial survival and virulence.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number84
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Biofilm
  • Surface attachment
  • Topography


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