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Vet Microbiol. 2007 Sep 20;124(1-2):187-91. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Time course of biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis mastitis isolates.

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CIISA/Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal.


Biofilm formation is considered a selective advantage for staphylococci mastitis isolates, facilitating bacterial persistence in the udder. It requires attachment to mammary epithelium, proliferation and accumulation of cells in multilayers and enclosing in a polymeric matrix, being regulated by several loci. As biofilm formation can proceed through different pathways and time ranges, its detection may differ according to the time of observation. This study aimed at evaluating the time course evolution of biofilm production in Staphylococcus aureus (n = 26) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 29) mastitis isolates by Fluorescent In Situ Hybridisation. Biofilm-forming ability increased with incubation time for both species: for S. aureus, 34.6%, 69.2% and 80.8% of the isolates were able to produce biofilm at 24, 48 and 72 h, respectively. For S. epidermidis, 44.8%, 62.1% and 75.9% of the isolates were biofilm-positive at 24, 48 and 72 h, respectively. No significant difference was found between species at each time point (Friedman's test, p > 0.05). For S. aureus, although a significant difference was found between 24 and 48 h (Wilcoxon matched paired test, p < 0.05), no significant difference was found between 24 and 48 h (p > 0.05). For S. epidermidis, significant differences were found between each time point (p < 0.05). Bacterial biofilms may impair eradication of chronic mastitis, rendering antibiotherapy less effective. Detection of biofilm-forming ability in mastitis isolates may provide useful information for the establishment of a more adequate therapeutic regimen, in view of the antimicrobial concentrations required for bacterial control. However, it is essential that biofilm formation time course is taken into consideration.

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