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      Biofilm forming abilities of Salmonella are correlated with persistence in fish meal- and feed factories

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          Feed contaminated with Salmonella spp. constitutes a risk of Salmonella infections in animals, and subsequently in the consumers of animal products. Salmonella are occasionally isolated from the feed factory environment and some clones of Salmonella persist in the factory environment for several years. One hypothesis is that biofilm formation facilitates persistence by protecting bacteria against environmental stress, e.g. disinfection. The aim of this study was to investigate the biofilm forming potential of Salmonella strains from feed- and fishmeal factories. The study included 111 Salmonella strains isolated from Norwegian feed and fish meal factories in the period 1991–2006 of serovar Agona, serovar Montevideo, serovar Senftenberg and serovar Typhimurium.


          Significant differences were found between serovars regarding the abilities to form biofilm on polystyrene (microtiter plate assay) and in the air-liquid interface of nutrient broth (pellicle assay). Strains of serovar Agona and serovar Montevideo were good biofilm producers. In Norwegian factories, clones of these serovars have been observed to persist for several years. Most serovar Senftenberg clones appear to persist for a shorter period, and strains of this serovar were medium biofilm producers in our test systems. Strains of the serovar Typhimurium were relatively poor biofilm producers. Salmonella ser. Typhimurium clones have not been observed to persist even though this serovar is resident in Norwegian wild life. When classifying strains according to persistence or presumed non-persistence, persistent strains produced more biofilm than presumed non-persisting strains.


          The results indicate a correlation between persistence and biofilm formation which suggests that biofilm forming ability may be an important factor for persistence of Salmonella in the factory environment.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Microbial biofilms.

          Direct observations have clearly shown that biofilm bacteria predominate, numerically and metabolically, in virtually all nutrient-sufficient ecosystems. Therefore, these sessile organisms predominate in most of the environmental, industrial, and medical problems and processes of interest to microbiologists. If biofilm bacteria were simply planktonic cells that had adhered to a surface, this revelation would be unimportant, but they are demonstrably and profoundly different. We first noted that biofilm cells are at least 500 times more resistant to antibacterial agents. Now we have discovered that adhesion triggers the expression of a sigma factor that derepresses a large number of genes so that biofilm cells are clearly phenotypically distinct from their planktonic counterparts. Each biofilm bacterium lives in a customized microniche in a complex microbial community that has primitive homeostasis, a primitive circulatory system, and metabolic cooperativity, and each of these sessile cells reacts to its special environment so that it differs fundamentally from a planktonic cell of the same species.
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            Variation in biofilm formation among strains of Listeria monocytogenes.

            Contamination of food by Listeria monocytogenes is thought to occur most frequently in food-processing environments where cells persist due to their ability to attach to stainless steel and other surfaces. Once attached these cells may produce multicellular biofilms that are resistant to disinfection and from which cells can become detached and contaminate food products. Because there is a correlation between virulence and serotype (and thus phylogenetic division) of L. monocytogenes, it is important to determine if there is a link between biofilm formation and disease incidence for L. monocytogenes. Eighty L. monocytogenes isolates were screened for biofilm formation to determine if there is a robust relationship between biofilm formation, phylogenic division, and persistence in the environment. Statistically significant differences were detected between phylogenetic divisions. Increased biofilm formation was observed in Division II strains (serotypes 1/2a and 1/2c), which are not normally associated with food-borne outbreaks. Differences in biofilm formation were also detected between persistent and nonpersistent strains isolated from bulk milk samples, with persistent strains showing increased biofilm formation relative to nonpersistent strains. There were no significant differences detected among serotypes. Exopolysaccharide production correlated with cell adherence for high-biofilm-producing strains. Scanning electron microscopy showed that a high-biofilm-forming strain produced a dense, three-dimensional structure, whereas a low-biofilm-forming strain produced a thin, patchy biofilm. These data are consistent with data on persistent strains forming biofilms but do not support a consistent relationship between enhanced biofilm formation and disease incidence.
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              Thin aggregative fimbriae and cellulose enhance long-term survival and persistence of Salmonella.

              Salmonella spp. are environmentally persistent pathogens that have served as one of the important models for understanding how bacteria adapt to stressful conditions. However, it remains poorly understood how they survive extreme conditions encountered outside their hosts. Here we show that the rdar morphotype, a multicellular phenotype characterized by fimbria- and cellulose-mediated colony pattern formation, enhances the resistance of Salmonella to desiccation. When colonies were stored on plastic for several months in the absence of exogenous nutrients, survival of wild-type cells was increased compared to mutants deficient in fimbriae and/or cellulose production. Differences between strains were further highlighted upon exposure to sodium hypochlorite, as cellulose-deficient strains were 1,000-fold more susceptible. Measurements of gene expression using luciferase reporters indicated that production of thin aggregative fimbriae (Tafi) may initiate formation of colony surface patterns characteristic of the rdar morphotype. We hypothesize that Tafi play a role in the organization of different components of the extracellular matrix. Conservation of the rdar morphotype among pathogenic S. enterica isolates and the survival advantages that it provides collectively suggest that this phenotype could play a role in the transmission of Salmonella between hosts.

                Author and article information

                BMC Vet Res
                BMC Veterinary Research
                BioMed Central
                27 May 2009
                : 5
                : 20
                [1 ]National Veterinary Institute, PO Box 750 Sentrum, N-0106, Oslo, Norway
                [2 ]Nofima mat, Osloveien 1, N-1430, Aas, Norway
                Copyright © 2009 Vestby et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Veterinary medicine


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