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BMC Vet Res. 2009 Nov 23;5:43. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-5-43.

Survival potential of wild type cellulose deficient Salmonella from the feed industry.

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National Veterinary Institute, Section of Bacteriology, Oslo, Norway.



Biofilm has been shown to be one way for Salmonella to persist in the feed factory environment. Matrix components, such as fimbriae and cellulose, have been suggested to play an important role in the survival of Salmonella in the environment. Multicellular behaviour by Salmonella is often categorized according to colony morphology into rdar (red, dry and rough) expressing curli fimbriae and cellulose, bdar (brown, dry and rough) expressing curli fimbriae and pdar (pink, dry and rough) expressing cellulose. The aim of the study was to look into the distribution of morphotypes among feed and fish meal factory strains of Salmonella, with emphasis on potential differences between morphotypes with regards to survival in the feed factory environment.


When screening a total of 148 Salmonella ser. Agona, Salmonella ser. Montevideo, Salmonella ser. Senftenberg and Salmonella ser. Typhimurium strains of feed factory, human clinical and reference collection origin, as many as 99% were able to express rough morphology (rdar or bdar). The dominant morphotype was rdar (74%), however as many as 55% of Salmonella ser. Agona and 19% of Salmonella ser. Senftenberg displayed the bdar morphology. Inconsistency in Calcofluor binding, indicating expression of cellulose, was found among 25% of all the strains tested, however Salmonella ser. Agona showed to be highly consistent in Calcofluor binding (98%). In biofilm, Salmonella ser. Agona strains with bdar mophology was found to be equally tolerant to disinfection treatment as strains with rdar morphotype. However, rdar morphology appeared to be favourable in long term survival in biofilm in a very dry environment. Chemical analysis showed no major differences in polysaccharide content between bdar and rdar strains. Our results indicate that cellulose is not a major component of the Salmonella biofilm matrix.


The bdar morphotype is common among Salmonella ser. Agona strains isolated from the factory environment. The rdar and the bdar strains were found to be equally tolerant to disinfectants, while the rdar strain was found to be more tolerant to long-term desiccation and nutrient depletion in biofilm than the bdar strain. Cellulose does not appear to be a major component of the Salmonella biofilm matrix.

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