Mechanisms of biofilm stimulation by subinhibitory concentrations of antimicrobials
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Biofilms are a typical mode of growth for most microorganisms and provide them with a variety of survival benefits. Biofilms can pose medical and industrial challenges due to their increased tolerance of antimicrobials and disinfectants. Exposure of bacteria to subinhibitory concentrations of those compounds can further exacerbate the problem, as they provoke physiological changes that lead to increased biofilm production and potential therapeutic failure. The protected niche of a biofilm provides conditions that promote selection for persisters and resistant mutants. In this review we discuss our current understanding of the mechanisms underlying biofilm stimulation in response to subinhibitory antimicrobials, and how we might exploit this 'anti-antibiotic' phenotype to treat biofilm-related infections and discover new compounds.
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