Bacteria are extremely adept at building biofilm cities, often in places humans don't want them: catheters, sewer lines, and our teeth, to name a few. Now scientists are working to unlock the structural mysteries in order to eradicate unwanted bacterial buildup.
Via Quanta Magazine:
The first biofilm researchers focused more on the chemical environments of these microbial communities rather than the physical forces that also governed their existence, according to Knut Drescher, a biophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. In the past five to 10 years, advances in microscale engineering and high-resolution microscopy have allowed scientists to measure physical forces acting on individual cells and replicate a range of environmental conditions in the lab that have enabled scientists to begin to track the formation of a biofilm, cell by cell.