Cellulose effects on morphology and elasticity of Vibrio fischeri biofilms

Christopher Ziemba, Yael Shabtai, Maria Piatkovsky, Moshe Herzberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cellulose effects on Vibrio fischeri biofilm morphology were tested for the wild-type and two of its isogenic mutants that either exhibit increased cellulose production or do not produce cellulose at all. Confocal laser scanning microscopy imaging of each biofilm revealed that total sessile volume increases with cellulose expression, but the size of colonies formed with cellulose was smaller, creating a more diffuse biofilm. These morphological differences were not attributed to variations in bacterial deposition, extracellular polymeric substances affinity to the surface or bacterial growth. A positive correlation was found between cellulose expression, Young's (elastic) modulus of the biofilm analyzed with atomic force microscope and shear modulus of the related extracellular polymeric substances layers analyzed with quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring. Cellulose production also correlated positively with concentrations of extracellular DNA. A significant negative correlation was observed between cellulose expression and rates of diffusion through the extracellular polymeric substances. The difference observed in biofilm morphology is suggested as a combined result of cellulose and likely extracellular DNA (i) increasing biofilm Young's modulus, making shear removal more difficult, and (ii) decreased diffusion rate of nutrients and wastes into and out of the biofilm, which effectively limits colony size.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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