Monteporzio Catone (Roma), Italy
September 17, 2005
Jan Rijstenbil (The Netherlands)
Patrizia Albertano (Italy)
Jonas Almeida (Portugal)
Michael Kühl (Denmark )
Mark van Loosdrecht (The Netherlands)
Gerard Muyzer (The Netherlands)
Thomas Neu (Germany)
Gaio Paradossi (Italy)
Francesca Di Pippo
What phototrophic biofilms are?
Where do we find them?
How are they organised?
What are they doing?
How can we make use of them?
is a project funded by the European Commission (QLK3-CT-2002-01938), that carried out basic research on the functioning of aquatic phototrophic biofilms in freshwater and marine environments. These complex microbial communities are attached to solid substrata and are dominated by cyanobacteria and microalgae that have close interactions with either the heterotrophic components, to which they supply organic matter and oxygen, or the external water phase which is characterised by physical and chemical heterogeneities.
The PHOBIA participants developed a prototype incubator in which aquatic phototrophic biofilms were grown on slides under controlled conditions of light, temperature and flow velocity; by continuous measurements via light sensors the data on biomass increase were stored and imported to a growth calculator in an intranet website for comparison of biofilm growth between all the project incubators.
To understand the development and functioning of biofilms grown under the various experimental conditions, data were collected on microenvironment, biofilm architecture and its spatio-temporal growth, species composition and diversity, exopolymeric matrix properties, photosynthesis and metabolic interactions of phototrophs vs heterotrophs.The data were then used to develop a mechanistic model and an artificial neural network tool to predict the development of phototrophic biofilms in aquatic environments.
The meeting intends to disseminate the newly acquired knowledge to a wide public audience interested in basic and applied science. Researchers and practitioners working in the field of ecology of interfacial communities, biofouling, water quality, bioremediation and wastewater treatment will find information on the design and functioning of biofilm -incubators, utilization of biofilms in aquatic environments and illustration of the mechanistic and ANN models for phototrophic biofilm growth.