Send to

Choose Destination
J Food Prot. 2005 Nov;68(11):2287-94.

Biofilm formation, extracellular polysaccharide production, and cell-to-cell signaling in various Enterobacter sakazakii strains: aspects promoting environmental persistence.

Author information

Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Enterobacter sakazakii is considered an opportunistic pathogen and has been implicated in food-associated cases of meningitis or enteritis, especially in neonates and infants. The organism has been detected in various types of food and in food production units, but so far only powdered infant formula has been linked to outbreaks of disease. Survival and persistence in such environments requires the ability to adapt to high osmotic potentials and/or dry conditions. Fifty-six E. sakazakii strains were evaluated for several features important for persistence and survival: (i) biofilm formation and the putative production of cellulose as one of the components of the extracellular matrix, (ii) adherence to hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces, (iii) the production of extracellular polysaccharides, and (iv) the ability of E. sakazakii to produce cell-to-cell signaling molecules. Pellicle and flock formation was observed in 21 of the strains grown in Luria-Bertani broth and in 44 of the strains grown in brain heart infusion broth. Calcofluor-stained fibrils, observed microscopically in every (fragile or rigid) pellicle, suggested the presence of cellulose as an extracellular compound in this type of biofilm. Twelve isolates did not form any pellicle or flocks under either condition. Twenty-three of the isolates exhibited the potential to adhere to glass surfaces in shaken cultures, and 33 strains showed biofilm formation at the air-solid interface of polyvinyl chloride microtiter wells. Sixteen isolates adhered to both surfaces. Twenty-four of the isolates tested produced a milky, viscous mass, considered as extracellular polysaccharide. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the polysaccharide revealed the presence of glucose, galactose, fucose, and glucuronic acid. Thin-layer chromatography analyses performed on ethyl acetate extracts of cell-free supernatants of the 56 strains indicated the presence of two different types of acylated homoserine lactones (3-oxo-C6-HSL and 3-oxo-C8-HSL). These findings illustrate the ability of E. sakazakii to produce cell-to-cell signaling molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center