The aquatic environment is highly complex and diverse, consisting of several types of ecosystems that are dynamic products of complex interactions between biotic and abiotic components. Changes in the physical and chemical properties of these ecosystems can significantly affect the balance of life forms present, especially in their microbiota. Among the main pollutants present in these environments are heavy metals. Several studies demonstrate the effects of these minerals on the structure and function of microbial communities, which may develop adaptation mechanisms for survival and permanence in these sites. In addition, the resistance to heavy metals may contribute to the evolution of resistance genes to the different types of antimicrobials due to the increase of the selective pressure in the environment, becoming a public health problem. One of the adaptive mechanisms present in bacteria from impacted environments that has been frequently investigated is the formation of biofilms. Recent studies have reported significant changes in the structure and amount of biofilm formed in the presence of different metals, and consequently, an increase in the tolerance to these pollutants and antimicrobials. This review will discuss the effects of some metals on bacterial biofilms and their consequences for the marine environment.
Part of the book: Bacterial Biofilms