Aims and goal
We see various shapes and objects around us such as a ship leisurely floating in sea, a pebble splashing up the stream of water, ears of rice plants that have become ripe in abundance, sink of kitchen that is busy in dinner preparation, bathtub of a hot spring where people have a pleasant chat (or people themselves who are having a pleasant chat) etc., however, there is always a front face in them. There is one common point in their front face. It is a fact that each of them has microorganisms attached to the surface.
It is not that microorganisms attached to the surface exist independently, rather in a characteristic structure; they form the so called microbial community “Biofilm” with other microorganisms. Because our surrounding area is full of various surfaces, it is certain that we can find various biofilms there. While these biofilms act in favor of people as seen in the use of immobilized microbes, they also results in tooth decay and food contamination. Because of their universality and importance, these biofilms have generated a lot of interest, and their scientific study and explanation has made a very rapid progress.
By the way, it is not an exaggeration to say that biofilms attract our interest only when it is beneficial or harmful to us. However, in the recent studies, it has come to light that biofilms can be found anywhere in the natural environment and they have come a very important living space for the microorganisms. For properly understanding these biofilms, which are universally present, it is necessary to modify our way of looking at microorganisms from the following two aspects. That is, 1) Microorganisms inside the biofilm are not floating, they are rather adhered to the surface, and 2) These microorganisms are not independent, they are rather multiple and form a community. We first need to thoroughly understand these two facts, and then based on these facts; we need to reflect with modesty as what we know about microorganisms. For example, we can do fluid culturing of microorganisms in a flask, and learn their various characteristics. But how can we ascertain that these various characteristics are same as that of microorganisms that are in adhered state? Alternatively, will a microorganism behave in the same manner when there is a different type of microorganism next to it as compared to when it is with the same type of microorganism? In this manner, it seems that biofilms have raised fundamental questions for the conventional microbiology. In an extreme case, insights that we have gained so far concerning microorganisms that are purely cultured and that are in the floating state, may not be applicable to the microorganisms in biofilms where they despite and form a community.
It can be said that biofilms are extremely wide and important research subjects in both fundamental and applied studies. In fact, many people are interested in biofilms and they are engaged in research and development work. However, it is a fact that at present there is no organization in Japan where people interested in biofilms can interact. Biofilm research group offers a platform where members can exchange information, and its purpose is to contribute to the development of biofilm research.
Details of Activities
1) Exchange of information regarding biofilm between members
a) Providing a field with low barriers
b) Awareness activities: Introduction of important literate, notification of relevant events (conferences, summer schools, etc.), collection of information from applied and practical aspects
c) Publication of bulletin (future topics and issues)
2) Contact point for exchanging information with overseas regarding biofilm
3) Contributing to the development and promotion of research encompassing fundamentals to application concerning biofilm in Japan
4) Organizing meeting and conference once in a year. In addition, it also organizes small study sessions (very intense with small group of people) and workshops as and when required.
Method of joining and withdrawal, and contact details
Joining: Contact the executive office and submit membership application form.
Withdrawing: Not specified
Executive Office: Yuki Tsuchiya
Report of activities undertaken so far (Photographs of the outline of the events)
2010 Summer workshop (College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University / Fuji Natural Education Center)
2012 Periodic workshop (Toyohashi University of Technology)