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According to the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in aqueous environments and begin to excrete a slimy, glue-like substance that can anchor them to all kinds of material – such as metals, plastics, soil particles, medical implant materials and, most significantly, human or animal tissue.
The first bacterial colonists to adhere to a surface initially do so by inducing weak, reversible bonds called van der Waals forces.
If the colonists are not immediately separated from the surface, they can anchor themselves more permanently using cell adhesion molecules, proteins on their surfaces that bind other cells in a process called cell adhesion.
These bacterial pioneers facilitate the arrival of other pathogens by providing more diverse adhesion sites.
Although the mechanisms behind quorum sensing are not fully understood, the phenomenon allows a single-celled bacterium to perceive how many other bacteria are in close proximity.
Thousands of years ago, humans realized that they could better survive a dangerous world if they formed into communities, particularly communities consisting of people with different talents.
Quorum sensing can occur within a single bacterial species as well as between diverse species, and can regulate a host of different processes, essentially serving as a simple communication network.