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The true extent of prokaryote diversity, encompassing the spectrum of variability among bacteria, remains unknown. Current research efforts focus on understanding why prokaryote diversification occurs, its underlying mechanisms, and its likely impact. The dynamic nature of the prokaryotic world, and continuing advances in the technological tools available make this an important area and hence this book will appeal to a wide variety of microbiologists. Its coverage ranges from studies of prokaryotes in specialized environmental niches to broad examinations of prokaryote evolution and diversity, and the mechanisms underlying them. Topics include: bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract, unculturable organisms in the mouth and in the soil, organisms from extreme environments, the diversity of archaea and their phages, comparative genomics and the emergence of pathogens, the spread of genomic islands between clinical and environmental organisms, minimal genomes needed for life, horizontal gene transfer, phenotypic innovation, and patterns and extent of biodiversity.
The study of biofilm considers the close association of micro-organisms with each other at interfaces and the consequent physiological adaptation to the proximity of other cells and surfaces. As such it is relevant to a variety of disciplines, including medicine, dentistry, bioremediation, biofouling, water technology, engineering and food science. Although the habitats studied, and their associated cellular communities, differ widely, some common elements exist such as method of attachment, coadhesion, regulation of biofilm phenotype and biofilm architecture. This book aims to distil the common principles of biofilm physiology and growth for all interested disciplines. It will appeal to the specialist biofilm researcher as well as to students wishing to introduce themselves to the topic.