An effective weapon against biofilm consortia and small colony variants of MRSA

Document Type: Short Communication


1 Microbiology-FMRRC-Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratories Complex Karachi, Pakistan

2 Bioscience, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology Karachi, Pakistan

3 Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Islamabad, Pakistan



Objective(s): This study was designed to investigate the effect of AgNPs (10 nm and 30 nm) on different phenotypes of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm consortia.
Materials and Methods: A total of eighteen biofilm-producing isolates of Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus (MRSA) were used in the present study. Tube methods, Congo-red agar method, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study biofilm phenotypes. Population analysis assay on a tryptone agar (TSA) plate was applied to study the different phenotypes of biofilm consortia. The effect of AgNPs was evaluated by broth dilution assay.
Results: Results showed that biofilm consortia harbor different phenotypes, i.e., planktonic, metabolically inactive cells, and small colony variants (SCVs) or persister cells. The focus of the present study is the effect of AgNPs on biofilm consortia of MRSA, particularly on the SCVs population. Large size AgNPs (30 nm) were unable to diffuse through extracellular matrix material coverings of the biofilm consortia; they were only active against the planktonic population that occupies the outer surface of consortia. The smaller AgNPs (10 nm), on the other hand, were found to diffuse through the matrix material and hence were effective against planktonic as well as metabolically inactive population of consortia. Moreover, 30 nm AgNPs take 6 hr to disperse off and kill planktonic and upper surface indwellers. The 10 nm AgNPs disperse and kill the majority of biofilm indwellers within 20 min.
Conclusion: The present study showed that 10 nm AgNPs can easily penetrate inside the biofilm and are active against all of the indwellers of consortia.


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