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Microbiology. 2006 Feb;152(Pt 2):387-96.

Biofilm formation in Campylobacter jejuni.

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Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.


The major gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is shown to exist as three forms of monospecies biofilm in liquid culture. It attaches to a glass surface; forms an unattached aggregate (floc); and forms a pellicle at the liquid-gas interface. The three forms of biofilm resemble each other when examined by scanning electron microscopy. The biofilm mode of growth confers protection against environmental stress, the microaerobic bacteria in flocs surviving up to 24 days at ambient temperature and atmosphere compared to 12 days survival by planktonic bacteria. The wild-type strains C. jejuni 33106, 32799, 33084 and 31485 did not form flocs, and floc formation was reduced in strains mutant in a putative flagellar protein (FliS) and in a phosphate acetyltransferase (Cj0688). All other strains tested, including strains with mutations affecting capsular polysaccharide (kpsM), flagella (maf5), protein glycosylation (pglH) and lipo-oligosaccharide (neuB1) formed flocs. Similarly, all strains tested formed a pellicle and attached to glass except the aflagellate mutant maf5; pellicle formation was reduced in fliS and cj0688 mutants. Different mechanisms, therefore, may control formation of different forms of biofilm. It is proposed that these poorly characterized forms of growth are important for the persistence of C. jejuni in the environment and may in part explain the high incidence of Campylobacter-associated food borne disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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