Relationship of cell surface hydrophobicity with biofilm formation and growth rate: A study on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli

Document Type : Original Article


1 Microbiology Analytical Centre, PCSIR Laboratories Complex Karachi, Pakistan

2 Department of Microbiology, University of Karachi, Pakistan

3 Department of Microbiology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science, and Technology, Pakistan

4 Department of Pathobiology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan


Objective(s): This study was designed to determine the relationship of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli isolates in multispecies biofilms and their individual phenotypic characters in biofilm consortia.
Materials and Methods:  The subject isolates were recovered from different food samples and identified on the basis of growth on differential and selective media.  Tube methods, Congo-red agar method, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study biofilms phenotypes. The hydrophobicity of the strains was evaluated by the adhesion to apolar solvent.
Results: The results showed that E. coli dominated the pre-biofilm stage. It has been observed that E. coli adopted biofilm life much before S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. However, after adopting biofilm lifestyle, slowly and gradually, P. aeruginosa dominated the consortia and dispersed other stakeholders. The subject isolates of P. aeruginosa produce cis-2-decanoic acid to disperse or inhibit S. aureus and E. coli biofilms. Gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry results showed that cis-2-decanoic was higher in the co-culture condition and increased at late log-phase or at stationary phase. Although majority of S. aureus were unable to compete with P. aeruginosa, however, a minor population competed, survived, and persisted in biofilm consortia as small colony variants. The survivors showed higher expression of sigB and sarA genes. P. aeruginosa showed comparatively higher hydrophobic surface properties.
Conclusion: Comparative analysis showed that cell surface hydrophobicity, growth rate, and small colony variants (SCVs) are correlated in biofilm consortia of the P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and E. coli.


Main Subjects

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