Mechanisms driving spatial distribution of residents in colony biofilms: an interdisciplinary perspective

Lukas Eigentler, Fordyce A. Davidson (Lead / Corresponding author), Nicola R. Stanley-Wall (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Biofilms are consortia of microorganisms that form collectives through the excretion of extracellular matrix compounds. The importance of biofilms in biological, industrial and medical settings has long been recognized due to their emergent properties and impact on surrounding environments. In laboratory situations, one commonly used approach to study biofilm formation mechanisms is the colony biofilm assay, in which cell communities grow on solid-gas interfaces on agar plates after the deposition of a population of founder cells. The residents of a colony biofilm can self-organize to form intricate spatial distributions. The assay is ideally suited to coupling with mathematical modelling due to the ability to extract a wide range of metrics. In this review, we highlight how interdisciplinary approaches have provided deep insights into mechanisms causing the emergence of these spatial distributions from well-mixed inocula.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220194
Number of pages13
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number12
Early online date14 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • colony biofilms
  • founder density
  • genetic drift
  • microbial interactions
  • spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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