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J Cyst Fibros. 2007 Apr;6(2):145-52. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

Exopolysaccharides produced by clinical strains belonging to the Burkholderia cepacia complex.

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Dipartimento di Biochimica, Biofisica e Chimica delle Macromolecole, Università di Trieste, I-34127 Trieste, Italy.



In the frame of a research line dedicated to better clarify the role of exopolysaccharides (EPS) in bacterial virulence, EPS produced by species of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc), namely Burkholderia multivorans, Burkholderia cenocepacia, and a Bcc member of undetermined genomovar, all isolated at the Cystic Fibrosis Regional Centre of Florence (Italy), were investigated for they structural properties.


Three strains of B. multivorans, three of B. cenocepacia and one of a Bcc member of undetermined genomovar were isolated from CF patients. The reference strains C1576 and J2315, for genomovar II and III, respectively, were included in the study. The bacteria were grown on solid media, the exopolysaccharides produced were purified, and their structures were determined. In addition, sugar analysis of sputum samples was accomplished to search for EPS produced in vivo.


Six strains out of seven produced the exopolysaccharide cepacian, while one strain of B. multivorans produced a completely different polymer, previously known in the literature as PS1. Two strains synthesised very small amounts of EPS. No definitive evidence for the presence of cepacian in sputum samples was found.


Most strains examined produced abundant amounts of polysaccharides. Cepacian was the most common EPS isolated and its production was not associated to a particular genomovar.

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