The term biofilm factory was first introduced in 2006, it describes the use of microbial biofilms for chemical production.
Microorganisms in nature can produce many different chemicals via fermentation or biocatalysis. These biological manufacturing processes often require less energy input and generate fewer wastes/by-products compared to conventional chemical manufacturing processes, and they are considered as natural and sustainable alternatives for chemical production. One of the major challenges faced by biological production processes is that many chemicals are toxic to microorganisms (at high concentration), killing microorganisms and therefore stopping the production processes. This often makes biological manufacturing processes unfeasible economically.
Many microorganisms can naturally grow together on surfaces to form complex aggregations called biofilms. One distinctive characteristic of biofilm formation is that microorganisms within biofilms are often much tougher and more recalcitrant compared to individuals. This phenomenon of enhanced resistance can potentially be beneficial in industrial chemical production, where microorganisms within biofilms may tolerate higher chemical concentration and act as robust manufacturing "factories" for various products.