Kate Solbakk


Root biofilm

Bacteria have glued themselves together to form a biofilm on the surface of a plant root. A small flagellate prowls along the structure, hunting for any bacteria that aren't safely locked in.

Living roots are one of my favourite things to look at in the microscope. I occasionally see clusters of what appear to be bacteria along the root surface, and I suspect these are the beginnings of bacterial biofilms; complex structures formed by bacteria and other microorganisms. Biofilms are commonly developed by bacteria such as B. subtillis, which are considered beneficial to plants, and plants will actively encourage them to form on the roots. This relationship is one of the many mysterious and fascinating aspects of the rhizosphere that we still know little about.

A cluster of microorganisms on the surface of a plant root.

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