Study of bacterial communication could lead to understanding of how to control oral biofilm

What does a new study from the field of marine microbiology have to do with dentistry? Scientists are studying bacterial communication among marine sponges, which could lead to an understanding of how pathogenic biofilm forms on teeth.

What does a new study from the field of marine microbiology have to do with dentistry?

A group of scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, Indiana University, and the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine collaborated on a study of bacterial communication among marine sponges. Findings show that when bacteria gather in one place, they decide collectively to grow an appendage and swim away. Studying this same behavior in marine sponges for the very first time could help researchers understand how pathogenic biofilm forms on teeth and how to control it.

The study was published in the September 2012 issue of Molecular Microbiology. Read the abstract here.

Study co-author Dr. Russell Hill, director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, Md., said, “Anything we can discover about this bacterial communication could be really important in understanding how bacteria become pathogenic in humans or how they form film on teeth or internal medical devices (such as artificial heart valves). Understanding that process may help in the future for controlling biofilms."

Read this article on ScienceDaily for more information about the study.

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