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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Characterization and Interventions for Foodborne Pathogens » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #204809

Title: The Biofilm Forming Potential of Bacterial Species in the Genus Campylobacter

item Gunther, Nereus - Jack
item Chen, Chinyi

Submitted to: Food Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2008
Publication Date: 1/30/2009
Citation: Gunther, N.W., Chen, C. 2009. The Biofilm Forming Potential of Bacterial Species in the Genus Campylobacter. Food Microbiology. 26:44-51.

Interpretive Summary: The bacteria comprising the genus Campylobacter are responsible for a large number of diseases in humans and domestic animals. Oddly, these bacteria have strict growth requirements and are not able to tolerate atmospheric oxygen levels. It is known that some bacteria are capable of forming into communities of bacteria collectively known as biofilms. Bacteria existing in biofilms have an increased ability to survive in environments that would normally be toxic to individual bacterium. It has been hypothesized that Campylobacters may form biofilms, which allow them to persist in hostile environments. Therefore the biofilm forming potential of 14 different species comprising the genus Campylobacter was determined on glass, stainless steel, and polystyrene surfaces. Determining the potential that Campylobacters possess for forming biofilms will help us better understand how they are able to tolerate environmental stresses and may provide insights into the development of control strategies.

Technical Abstract: The biofilm forming abilities of representative strains of 14 of the 16 species comprising the genus Campylobacter were determined on glass, stainless steel, and polystyrene plastic. The genus Campylobacter is comprised of bacterial species which are both sensitive to oxygen and nutritionally fastidious, and requiring rich media and microaerobic or anaerobic conditions for growth. Nevertheless, Campylobacter spp. are responsible for a large percentage of the bacterial food poisoning cases worldwide. The formation of biofilms has been suggested as a means by which Campylobacter is able to persist within an inhospitable environment. Of the eight microaerophilic Campylobacter species only Campylobacter jejuni strain 81-176 was shown to be capable of reliably producing a visible biofilm on multiple surfaces. Alternately, all six of the anaerobic Campylobacter species were able to reliably produce visible biofilms on multiple surfaces. Electron micrographs of the individual biofilms showed relatively homogeneous biofilms produced by the anaerobic strains while the microaerophilic C. jejuni strain 81-176 produced a biofilm containing similar quantities of both the spiral and coccoid forms. This survey suggests a difference in the biofilm forming potentials and the morphologies of the bacteria comprising the biofilms between anaerobic and microaerophilic species of Campylobacter. Additionally, differences observed in the biofilm forming ability of two members of the species C. jejuni advocates for an investigation of the biofilm forming potential of a large number of strains belonging to that species.