Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2012
Publication Date: 8/9/2012
Citation: SWang, R., Kalchayanand, N., Schmidt, J.W., Bosilevac, J.M., Bono, J.L. 2012. Dual-serotype biofilm formation by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and 026:H11 strains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78(17):6341-6344.
Interpretive Summary: Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are important foodborne pathogens. E. coli O157:H7, the most frequently isolated STEC serotype, is one of the leading causes of foodborne diseases. Meanwhile, many non-O157 STEC serotypes have been associated with serious outbreaks and clinical infections as well. Various STEC serotypes are capable of forming biofilms on food-contact surfaces that, when detached, may lead to food contamination. In nature, bacteria may coexist in multi-species communities to form mixed biofilms, and the interactions among species could profoundly affect biofilm development, composition and structure. In the present study, we investigated how coexistence of STEC O157:H7 and O26:H11, a high virulent non-O157 STEC serotype, would affect bacterial growth competition and mixed biofilm composition. Our results indicated that STEC O26:H11 strains were able to effectively outgrow O157:H7 strains during coexistence. In the presence of pre-formed O157:H7 biofilms, the O26:H11 strains could still compete with the colonized O157:H7 cells and establish themselves in the mixed biofilms, while STEC O157:H7 appeared to be a poor colonizer if O26:H11 cells pre-occupied the solid surfaces. Our findings highlight the potential risk of this non-O157 STEC in food safety and call for increased attention to the non-O157 STEC biofilms in food processing facilities.
Technical Abstract: Bacterial coexistence significantly affects cell growth and biofilm development. We demonstrated E. coli O26:H11 strains could outgrow O157:H7 companion strains in planktonic and biofilm phases, and also effectively compete with pre-colonized O157:H7 cells to establish themselves in mixed biofilms. Therefore, E. coli O26:H11 remains a potential risk in food safety.