Proteins in the biofilm matrix
Biofilm formation is the process by which single celled microbes form an adherent community. Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive bacterium that lives in the soil and can form biofilms on the roots of plants. In this environment the bacteria stimulate growth of the plant and therefore theoretically can function as an alternative to petrochemical derived fertilisers. The resident bacterial cells synthesize a extracellular matrix containing protein, DNA and polysaccharides that surrounds and protects the cells in the biofilm. We want to further our understanding of how the proteins in the biofilm matrix assemble into higher order forms (these can be fibres and films) and to understand how they let the three dimensional structure of the mature biofilm develop. The student undertaking the project would be exposed to molecular biology techniques in combination with biochemistry and biophysical analysis methods.