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By Jost Wingender, Thomas R. Neu, Hans-Curt Flemming

Microbial extracellular polymeric ingredients (EPS) are the foremost elements for the aggregation of microorganisms in biofilms, flocs and sludge. they're composed of polysaccharides, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and different organic macromolecules. EPS offer a hugely hydrated gel matrix during which microbial cells can identify strong synergistic consortia. team spirit and adhesion in addition to morphology, constitution, organic functionality and different homes corresponding to mechanical balance, diffusion, sorption and optical homes of microbial aggregates are decided by way of the EPS matrix. additionally, the safety of biofilm organisms opposed to biocides is attributed to the EPS. Their matrix permits part separation in biofiltration and is usually vital for the degradation of particulate fabric that is of serious significance for the self purification methods in floor waters and for waste water therapy. during this quantity, research, characterization, composition, rules, functionality and interactions of microbial EPS are covered.

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1998A) STOODLEY ET AL. (1994) ZITA AND HERMANSSON (1997) ed using a variety of probes including general probes for polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids. Furthermore, there are highly specific probes for EPS mono-, oligo-, and poly-mers such as lectins and antibodies. , charge, hydrophobicity, or diffusion coefficients (see Table 2). 1 Polysaccharides General fluorescent polysaccharide probes include stains like calcofluorwhite M2R and congo red. However, these stains are not really general polysaccharide stains as they have a specificity for all (I ~4) and (I ~3) beta-D-glucan polysaccharides (ALLISON AND SUTHERLAND 1984; WOOD 1980).

2 Proteins . . . . . . 3 Nucleic Acids . . . . 1 Charge Distribution . . . 2 HydrophobicitylHydrophilicity . .. 3 Permeability . . . . . . . 1 Analyses Techniques . . . Three-Dimensional Imaging Three-Dimensional Display . 3 J. Wingender et al. R. R. 3 References . 41 41 42 Keywords. 1 Traditional Approaches for Studying Microbial Polysaccharides Historically, microbial polysaccharides were studied for three reasons. First, polysaccharides represent a structural feature of the microbial cell; therefore they were investigated for pure and basic research interests.

Fluorescence labeled lectins in combination with epi-fluorescence microscopy were used in several studies characterizing the bacterial cell surface or cell appendages (HOOD AND SCHMIDT 1996; JONES ET AL. 1986; QUINTERO AND WEINER 1995; SIZEMORE ET AL. 1988). Nevertheless, lectins in combination with CLSM have been applied in very few investigations of complex microbial biofIlm systems. These reports are discussed later together with the "case studies". Antibodies are a second specific group of probes.

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