Prof. Dr. Hans-Curt Flemming

Prof. Dr. Hans-Curt Flemming

Born: September 11, 1947 in Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance
  • 1968 - 1972: Study of chemistry in Stuttgart and Freiburg, Scholarship of Chemical Industry, Heinrich-Hörlein-Award of the German Biological Society
  • 1972: Diploma in chemistry 
  • 1972 - 1977: Dissertation, Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg: “Biosynthesis of O-Antigens in E. coli“
  • 1977 - 1978: Postdoc, Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg”
  • 1978 - 1994: Group leader Biofouling of ion exchangers and filtration membranes”, Institute for Civil Engineering, Univ. Stuttgart; establishment of a “Biofouling and biofilm research research group”
  • 1993: Habilitation: "Biofilms", University of Stuttgart
  • 1994 - 1996: Establishment of the Department of Biotechnology, Institute for Civil Engineering, TU München
  • 1996 - 2014: Chair for for Aquatic Microbiology, University of Duisburg;
  • Member of the board of scientific directors of the IWW Centre for Water, Mülheim/Ruhr
  • 2001 - 2014 Foundation of Biofilm Centre, acting as Managing Director 
  • 2001 - 2014 Concept, design and implementation of the international Bachelor/Master curriculum "Water Science”
  • Since 2015 Retired from Biofilm Centre (now UMB)
  • 2011 to present Visiting Professor at the Singapore Center for Life Science and Engineering (SCELSE)
  • 2021 to 2025 Huiquan Scholar Distinguished Professor, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qindao, China

Contact Info

Prof. Dr. Hans-Curt Flemming

Water Academy
Schloss-Straße 40
88045 Friedrichshafen

Tel.: 0172 9066119

Further professional experience

  • 1986 - 1996:                     Managing Director of Consulting Company Biofilm Control
  • 1997 - 1999:                     Visiting Professor, University of Queensland, Brisbane
  • 1999 - 2001:                     Honorary Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • 1999 – 2014:          Leader of Specialist Group “Water/Wastewater” in the German Federation of General and Applied Microbiology
  • 2003 - 2006:                     President, International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation                               Society
  • 2004 - 2014            Member of Specialist Group Steering Group of IWA
  • 1998 - 2007           Member of the board of the German Water Chemical Society
  • 2010 - 2014            Member of Stellenbosch Water Institute Advisory Board
  • 2010 - 2014:           Member of Senate of University of Duisburg-Essen and member of Senate Research Commission
  • 2011 - 2014            Coordinator of IWA-ISME BioCluster
  • April 2011:              Guest professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • May 2018:               Guest professor at the University of Lausanne

Member of the board of scientific journals:

  • Biofouling
  • Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology
  • International Journal of Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
  • Biofilm
  • npj biofilms and microbiomes
  • Reviewer of research projects and promotion applications:
  • German Research Foundation,
  • Helmholtz Society
  • VW-Foundation
  • Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF)
  • German Foundation for Environment
  • EPSRC England
  • TU Kopenhagen
  • CSIRO Australia
  • Swiss Research Foundation
  • European Union
  • Univ. Pretoria, Univ. Stellenbosch
  • NSF USA, South Africa, Republic of Ireland

Peer Reviewer for

  • Nature Reviews Microbiology
  • Science
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • Water Research
  • Biofouling
  • FEMS Microbiology
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Desalination
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Microbiology
  • Journal of Applied Microbiology
  • Chemical Reviews
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Journal of Biomaterials Science
  • Engineering in Life Sciences
  • Journal of Membrane Science

Publications: > 300 papers in refereed journals, 11 books (9 in English)

H-index in web of science: 51, in google scholar 70, i10 index 162

Most relevant publications since 2010


Flemming, H.-C., Baveye, P., Neu, T.R., Stoodley, P., Szewzyk, U., Wuertz, S., Wingender, J., Wuertz, S. (2021): Who put the film in biofilm? The migration of a term from wastewater engineering to medicine and beyond. npj Biofilms Microbiomes 7, 10.

Kirschner, A., Vierheilig, J., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J., Farnleitner, A. (2021): How dead is dead? VBNC vs. persisters. Environ. Microbiol. Rep. 13, 243-245 (2021). doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12949

Flemming, H.-C. (2021): Biofilme – wie Mikroorganismen ihr Gesellschaftsleben organisieren. In: Boenigk, J. (Hrsg.) Lehrbuch Biologie, Kap. 25.13, pp 576-580. Springer, Berlin 2021

Benninghoff, J.C., Kuschmierz, L., Zhou, X., Albersmeier, A., Pham, T.K., Wright, P.S., Kalinowski, J., Makarova, K.S., Bräsen, C., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J., Siebers, B. (2021): Response of the thermoacidophilic Archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius to solvent stress exemplified by 1-butanol exposure. Extremophiles. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 87 e02988-20

Quan, K., Hou, J., Zhang, Z., Ren, Y., Peterson, B.W., Flemming, H.-C., Mayer, C., Busscher, H.J., van der Mei, H.C. (2021): Water in bacterial biofilms: pores, channels, storage and transport functions. Crit. Rev. Microbiol.



Flemming, H.-C. (2020): Biofouling and me – my Stockholm Syndrome with Biofilms. Wat. Res. 173, 115576

Little, B.J, Blackwood, D., Hinks, J., Lauro, F., Marsili, E., Okamato, A., Rice, S.A., Wade, S., Flemming, H.-C. (2020): Microbially influenced corrosion: anything new? Corros. Sci. 170, 108641

Cruz, M.C., Woo, Y., Teng, S., Flemming, H.-C., Wuertz, S. (2020): Nitrifying niche differentiation in biofilms from full-scale chloraminated drinking water distribution systems under tropical conditions. Wat. Res. 176, 115738



Flemming, H.-C., Wuertz, S. (2019): Bacteria and Archaea on Earth and their abundance in biofilms. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 17, 247–260

Seviour, T. et al. (2019): Extracellular polymeric substances of biofilms: suffering from an identity crisis. Wat. Res. 151, 1-7

Panitz, C., Frösler, J., Wingender, J., Flemming, H.-C., Rettberg, P. (2019): Tolerances of Deinococcus geothermalis Biofilms and Planktonic Cells Exposed to Space and Simulated Martian Conditions in Low Earth Orbit for Almost Two Years. Astrobiology 19, doi 10.1089/ast.2018.1913



Froesler, J., Panitz, C., Wingender, J., Flemming, H.-C., Rettberg, P. (2017): Survival opf Deinococcus geothermalis under desiccation and simulated space and Mars conditions. Astrobiol. 17, 431-447

Flemming, H-C., Guézennec, J., (2017): Biodéterioration et biodégradation des matériaux plastiques. In: Guezénnec, J. (ed.): Biodégradation des matériaux. Edit. Quae, Versailles, 61-73

Book: Flemming, H.-C., Neu, T., Wingender, J. (2017): The Perfect Slime: Microbial extracellular polymeric substances. IWA Publishing, London

Flemming, H.-C. (2017): The perfect slime – and the “dark matter” of biofilms. In: Flemming, H.-C., Neu, T.R., Wingender, J. (eds): The Perfect Slime: Microbial extracellular polymeric substances. IWA Press, London, chapt. 1, 1-14

Vrouwenvelder, J., Dreszer, C., Linares, V.R., Kruithof, J.C., Mayer, C., Flemming, H.C. (2017): Why and how biofilms cause biofouling – the“hair-in-sink”-effect. In: Flemming, H.-C., Neu, T.R., Wingender, J. (eds): The Perfect Slime: Microbial extracellular polymeric substances. IWA Press, London, chapt. 10 193-206

Benninghoff, J., Wingender, J., Flemming, H.-C., Siebers, B. (2017): Biofilms X-treme: composition of extracellular polymeric substances and exopolysaccharide synthesis in Archaea. In: Flemming, H.-C., Neu, T.R., Wingender, J. (eds): The Perfect Slime: Microbial extracellular polymeric substances. IWA Press, London, chapt. 15, 301-317



Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J., Kjelleberg, S., Steinberg, P., Rice, S., Szewzyk, U. (2016): Biofilms: an emergent form of microbial life. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 14, 563-575

Kistemann, T., Schmidt, A., Flemming, H.-C. (2016): Post-industrial river water quality - fit for bathing again? Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health 219, 629-642

Flemming, H.-C. (2016): EPS – then and now. Microbes 4, 41; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040041



Bloomfield, S., et al. (2015): Lesser-known or hidden reservoirs of infection and

implications for adequate prevention strategies: Where to look and what to look for. GMS Hyg Inf Contr 10 Doc04. DOI: 10.3205/dgkh000247


Königs, A., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2015): The effect of silver nanoparticles on Pseudomonas aeruginosa planktonic cells and biofilms. Front. Microbiol. 6, Article 395

Valladares Linares, R., Wexler, A.D., Bucs, S.C., Dreszer, C., Zwijnenburg, A., Flemming, H.-C., Kruithof, J., Vrowuwenvelder, J.S. (2015): Compaction and relaxation of biofilms. Desal. Wat. Treat. 57, doi: 10.1080/19443994.2015.1057036.  



Jänchen, J., Bauermeister, A., Feyh, N., de Vera, J.-P., Rettberg, P., Szewzyk, U., Flemming, H.-C. (2014): Water retention of extremophiles and Martian soil simulants under close to Mars environmental conditions. Plan. Space Sci. 98 163–168

Bauermeister, A., Rettberg, P., Flemming, H.-C. (2014): Growth of the acidophilic iron-sulfur bacterium Acidothiobacillus ferrooxidans under Mars-like geochemical conditions. Plan. Space Sci, 98, 205–215

Tielen, P., Rosenau, F., Wilhelm, S., Jaeger, K.-C., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2014): Extracellular enzymes affect biofilm formation in mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa.BMC Microbiol., 159, 221-228

Dreszer, C., Flemming, H.-C., Zwijnenburg, A., Kruithof, J.C., Vrouwenvelder, J.S. (2014): Impact of biofilm accumulation on transmembrane and feed channel pressure drop: effects of crossflow velocity, feed spacer and biodegradable nutrient. Wat. Res. 50, 200-211

Flemming, H.-C., (2014): The biofilm mode of life. In: Krauss, G.-J., Nies, D. (eds.): Ecological Biochemistry- Environmental and Interspecies Interactions today. VCH Weinheim, 279-291

Laurenco A. et al. (2014): Minimum information about a biofilm experiment (MIABiE): Standards for reporting experiments and data on sessile microbial communities living at interfaces. Pathog. Disease 70, 250-256

Dreszer, C., Flemming, H.-C., Wexler, A.D., Zwijnenburg, A., Kruithof, J.S., Vrouwenvelder, J.S. (2013): Development and testing of a transparent membrane biofouling monitor. Desal. Wat. Treat. 52, 1807-1819

Dreszer, C., Wexler, A.D., Drusova, S., Overdijk, T., Zwijnenburg, A., Flemming, H.-C., Kruithof, J., Vrouwenvelder, J.S. (2014): In-situ biofilm characterization in membrane systems using Optical Coherence Tomography: Formation, structure, detachment and impact of flux change. Wat. Res. 67, 243-254



Flemming, H.-C., Bendinger, B., Exner, M., Kistemann, T., Schaule, G., Szewzyk, U., Wingender, J. (2013): The last meters before the tap: where drinking water quality is at risk. In: van der Kooij, D., van der Wielen, P. (eds.): Microbial growth in drinking water distribution systems and tap water installations. IWA Publishing, chapter 8, pp 205-236.

Dreszer, C., Vrouwenvelder, H., Kruithof, J., Paulitzsch, A., Flemming, H.-C. (2013): Hydraulic resistance of biofilms. J. Mem. Sci, 429 436–447

Flemming, H.-C, Meier, M., Schild, T. (2013): Mini-Review: Biofouling in paper production. Biofouling 29, 683-696

Strathmann, M., Mittenzwey, K., Sinn, G., Papadakis, W., Flemming, H.-C. (2013): Simultaneous monitoring of biofilm growth, microbial activity and inorganic deposits on surfaces with an optical deposit sensor in-situ, on-line, in real time and non-destructively. Biofouling 29, 573-583

Strathmann, M., Piller, O., Flemming, H.-C. (2013): Monitoring of Pipe Wall Deposits in Drinking Water Distribution Systems. In: Borchers, U., Gray, J., Thompson, C. (eds.): Water Contamination Emergencies: Managing the Threats. RSC Publ. Cambridge, 116-131



Panitz, C., Rettberg, P., Rabbow, E., Bauermeister, A., Baczyk, S., Billi, D., Cockell, C., Flemming, H.-C., Stan-Lotter, H., Venkateswaran, K. (2012): The experiment BOSS on EXPOSE-2. Mission preparation tests for biofilm organisms surfing space. EPSC Abstracts Vol. 7 EPSC2012-447-1 2012 European Planetary Science Congress 2012



Book: Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J., Szewzyk, U. (eds.): Biofilm Highlights. Springer Int. Heidelberg, New York, 2011, 243 pp

Flemming, H.-C. (2011): Microbial biofouling – unsolved problems, insufficient approaches and possible solutions. In: Flemming, Wingender, J., H.-C., Szewzyk, U. (eds.): Biofilm Highlights. Springer Int. Heidelberg, New York, 2011, 81-109

Flemming, H.-C. (2011): The perfect slime. Coll. Surf. B: Biointerfaces,
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 86, 251-259

Wingender, J., Flemming, H.-C. (2011): Biofilms in drinking water and their role as reservoir for pathogens.  Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health 214, 417-423

Dwidjosiswojo, Z., Richards, J., Moritz, M.M., Dopp, E., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2011): Influence of copper ions on the viability and cytotoxicity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa under conditions relevant to drinking water. Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health 214, 485-492



Melo, L., Flemming, H.-C. (2010): Mechanistic Aspects of Heat Exchanger and Membrane Biofouling and Prevention. In: Amjad, Z. (ed.): The science and technology of industrial water treatment. Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 365-380

Balzer, M., Witt, N., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2010): Accumulation of fecal indicator bacteria in river biofilms. Wat. Sci. Technol. 61, 1106-1111

Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2010): The Biofilm Matrix. Nature Rev. Microbiol. 8 623-633

Tielen, P., Rosenau, F., Wilhelm, S., Jaeger, K.F., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2010): Extracellular enzymes affect biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Microbiology 156, 2239-2252

Moritz, M., Flemming, H.-C., Wingender, J. (2010): Integration of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumophila in drinking water biofilms grown on domestic plumbing materials. Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health 213, 190-197

Flemming, H.-C. (2010): Biodeterioration of synthetic polymers – a brief review. Mat. Corr. 61, 986-992

Flemming, H.-C., Cloete, T.E. (2010): Environmental impact of controlling biofouling and biocorrosion in cooling water systems. In: Rajagopal, S., Jenner, H.A., Venugopalan, V.P. (eds.): Operational and Environmental Consequences of Large Industrial Cooling Water Systems, 365-380

Schaule, G., Schulte, S., Flemming, H.-C. (2010): Biofilms on aged materials in household installation systems. GWF Int. S1/2010, 71-73


  • “Nitrification in chloraminated drinking water” with Prof. Dr. Stefan Wuertz (SCELSE)
  • “Microbially influenced corrosion in deep seawater constructions” with Prof. Federico Lauro (SCELSE)
  • Microbiome of microbially influenced corrosion with Ruiyong Zhang, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qindao, China
  • Biofilme in Waschmaschinen with Prof. Dirk Bockmühl, Hochschule Rhein-Waal