Human tissues often support large, complex microbial communities growing as biofilms that can cause a variety of infections. Due to an increased use of implanted medical devices, the incidence of these biofilm-associated diseases is increasing: the non-shedding surfaces of these devices provide ideal substrata for colonization by biofilm-forming microbes. The consequences of this mode of growth are far-reaching. As microbes in biofilms exhibit increased tolerance towards anti-microbial agents and decreased susceptibility to host defense systems, biofilm-associated diseases are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. Not surprisingly, therefore, interest in biofilms has increased dramatically in recent years. The application of new microscopic and molecular techniques has revolutionized our understanding of biofilm structure, composition, organization and activities, resulting in important advances in the prevention and treatment of biofilm-related diseases. The purpose of this book is to bring these advances to the attention of clinicians and medical researchers.

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