The opinion article “Biofilms vs. cities and humans vs. aliens – a tale of reproducibility in biofilms”, from authors Nuno F. Azevedo (FEUP), Jontana Allkja (FEUP) and Darla M. Goeres (CBE, Montana State University, USA), published in the “Trends in Microbiology” journal on June 2nd, tackles the pressing issue of reproducibility in biofilm science.
The issue of reproducibility refers to the inability of scientists to replicate (repeat) results from one study to the other. To better visualise the issue as it relates to biofilms, the authors propose imagining biofilms as cities, where humans would be representative for microbes and buildings would be representative of the protective matrix encasing them. The authors expand further on this analogy, by imagining that a new civilization has reached the Earth outskirts and starts studying Earth’s cities and their inhabitants. In this scenario, we can identify different features of cities that the aliens would need to assess to compare them to one another. For example, population densities, availability of food and water resources and the overall architecture and organization of the city. When this is translated to biofilms, we can understand the different techniques that could be useful in helping us study biofilms in more detail and ensuring the experiments can be replicated.
Find it here.