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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Renewable Product Technology Research

Title: Biofilm formation by strains of Leuconostoc citreum and L. mesenteroides

item Leathers, Timothy - Tim
item Bischoff, Kenneth

Submitted to: Biotechnology Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/22/2010
Publication Date: 2/22/2011
Publication URL:
Citation: Leathers, T.D., Bischoff, K.M. 2011. Biofilm formation by strains of Leuconostoc citreum and L. mesenteroides. Biotechnology Letters. 33(3):517-523.

Interpretive Summary: This research compared for the first time biofilm formation among strains of Leuconostoc, a group of bacteria that can contaminate sugar processing facilities. Biofilms are composed of microorganisms that grow on solid surfaces and they are difficult to remove during cleaning. Polysaccharides produced by the bacteria are generally believed to be important in the formation of biofilms. Fundamental information on biofilm formation is needed to control bacterial contamination of industrial processes. Results of this study showed that biofilm levels did not depend solely on the types of polysaccharides produced by the bacteria. These results are important to researchers developing improved methods to control biofilm contamination.

Technical Abstract: Aims: To compare for the first time biofilm formation among strains of Leuconostoc citreum and L. mesenteroides that produce varying types of extracellular glucans. Methods and Results: Twelve strains of Leuconostoc sp. that produce extracellular glucans were compared for their capacity to produce biofilms. 16s rRNA sequence analysis was used to confirm the species identity of these strains, which included four isolates of L. mesenteroides, five isolates of L. citreum, and three glucansucrase mutants of L. citreum strain NRRL B-1355. Biofilm formation was quantitatively measured in commercial flow-cell reactors. All strains identified as L. mesenteroides produce glucans generally similar to commercial dextran. Nevertheless, these strains differed widely in their capacity to form biofilms, with densities ranging from 2.7 to 6.1 log (cfu/cm2). L. citreum strains and their derivatives produce a variety of glucans. These strains exhibited biofilm densities ranging from 2.5 to 5.9 log (cfu/cm2). Conclusions: Although biofilm densities varied widely on a strain-specific basis, no apparent correlations were found with bacterial species or extracellular glucans. Significance and Impact of the Study: Despite the fact that biofilms produced by Leuconostoc sp. are economically important as contaminants of sugar processing plants, very few studies are available on these systems. Results will support further studies to improve control strategies.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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