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Environ Microbiol. 2005 Oct;7(10):1593-601.

Grazing resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms depends on type of protective mechanism, developmental stage and protozoan feeding mode.

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School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia.


In a previous study we identified microcolony formation and inhibitor production as the major protective mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms against flagellate grazing. Here we compared the efficacy of these two key protective mechanisms by exposing biofilms of the non-toxic alginate overproducing strain PDO300 and the wild-type toxic strain PAO1 to a range of feeding types commonly found in the succession of protozoans associated with natural biofilms. Alginate-mediated microcolony formation conferred effective protection for strain PDO300 against the suspension feeding flagellate Bodo saltans and, as reported earlier, the surface feeding flagellate Rhynchomonas nasuta, both of which are considered as early biofilm colonizers. However, microcolonies of mature PDO300 biofilms were highly susceptible to late biofilm colonizers, the surface-feeding amoeba Acanthamoeba polyphaga and the planktonic ciliate Tetrahymena sp., resulting in a significant reduction of biofilm biomass. Mature biofilms of strain PAO1 inhibited growth of flagellates and A. polyphaga while the grazing activity of Tetrahymena sp. remained unaffected. Our findings suggest that inhibitor production of mature P. aeruginosa biofilms is effective against a wider range of biofilm-feeding predators while microcolony-mediated protection is only beneficial in the early stages of biofilm formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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