The secret to icky, sticky bacterial biofilms lies in the microbes’ cellulose

A surprising molecular tweak reveals how the fibrous material differs from that found in plants

E. coli colony

TANGLY TENDRILS  This colony of E. coli bacteria gets its wrinkly look thanks to tendrils of cellulose that it uses to build a supertight, sticky web. A new view of microbes’ cellulose shows how it’s different from the kind found in plants.

L. Cegelski

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