Susceptibility of biofilms to Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus attack

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Daniel Kadouri, George A O'Toole


Biofilms are communities of microorganisms attached to a surface, and the growth of these surface attached communities is thought to provide microorganisms with protection against a range of biotic and abiotic agents. The capability of the gram-negative predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus to control and reduce an existing Escherichia coli biofilm was evaluated in a static assay. A reduction in biofilm biomass was observed as early as 3 h after exposure to the predator, and an 87% reduction in crystal violet staining corresponding to a 4-log reduction in biofilm cell viability was seen after a 24-h exposure period. We observed that an initial titer of Bdellovibrio as low as 10(2) PFU/well or an exposure to the predator as short as 30 min is sufficient to reduce a preformed biofilm. The ability of B. bacteriovorus to reduce an existing biofilm was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. The reduction in biofilm biomass obtained after the first 24 h of exposure to the predator remained unchanged even after longer exposure periods and reinoculation of the samples with fresh Bdellovibrio; however, no genetically stable resistant population of the host bacteria could be detected. Our data suggest that growth in a biofil...Continue Reading


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