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Bioaggregation of unicellular organisms is a remarkably common motif in microbiology. It appears that high density living is advantageous. But this is not without its challenges. Thin layers of biomass can generate steep concentration gradients resulting in limitations to diffusion of compounds inside the aggregate out (eg. quorum sensing signals) and compounds outside the aggregate in (eg. electron acceptors). This project explores the role of N-acylated homoserine lactone production on floc formation in wastewater treatment plants.

Drawing on a rich history of activity in quorum sensing, electron shuttle and method development (stable isotope probing) based research programs this portfolio forms the fundamental discovery research base for the other two applications focussed portfolios (bioremediation and biogas). It is funded through an ARC Future Fellowship awarded in 2010 to Dr Mike Manefield.