Extracellular polymeric substance
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Exopolysaccharide. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2012.|
Extracellular polymeric substances, are high-molecular weight compounds secreted by microorganisms into their environment. EPS establish the functional and structural integrity of biofilms, and are considered the fundamental component that determines the physiochemical properties of a biofilm.
EPS are mostly composed of polysaccharides (exopolysaccharides) and proteins, but include other macro-molecules such as DNA, lipids and humic substances. EPS are the construction material of bacterial settlements and either remain attached to the cell's outer surface, or are secreted into its growth medium. These compounds are important in biofilm formation and cells attachment to surfaces. EPS constitutes 50% to 90% of a biofilm's total organic matter.
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