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Microbiology. 2009 Jun;155(Pt 6):1997-2003. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.021568-0. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Hyphal content determines the compression strength of Candida albicans biofilms.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering (Sector F), University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.


Candida albicans is the most frequently isolated human fungal pathogen among species causing biofilm-related clinical infections. Mechanical properties of Candida biofilms have hitherto been given no attention, despite the fact that mechanical properties are important for selection of treatment or dispersal of biofilm organisms due to a bodily fluid flow. The aim of this study was to identify the factors that determine the compression strength of Candida biofilms. Biofilms of C. albicans wild-type parental strain Caf2-1, mutant strain Chk24 lacking Chk1p [known to be involved in regulation of morphogenesis (yeast-to-hyphae transition)] and gene-reconstructed strain Chk23 were evaluated for their resistance to compression, along with biofilms of Candida tropicalis GB 9/9 and Candida parapsilosis GB 2/8, derived from used voice prosthetic biofilms. Additionally, cell morphologies within the biofilm, cell-surface hydrophobicities and extracellular polymeric substance composition were determined. Our results suggest that the hyphae-to-yeast ratio influences the compression strength of C. albicans biofilms. Biofilms with a hyphal content >50 % possessed significantly higher compressive strength and were more difficult to destroy by vortexing and sonication than biofilms with a lower hyphal content. However, when the amount of extracellular DNA (eDNA) in biofilms of C. albicans Caf2-1 and Chk24 increased, biofilm strength declined, suggesting that eDNA may influence biofilm integrity adversely.

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