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Jundishapur J Microbiol. 2015 Mar 21;8(3):e15514. doi: 10.5812/jjm.15514. eCollection 2015 Mar.

Biofilm Formation and β-Lactamase Production in Burn Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, IR Iran.



Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important nosocomial pathogen characterized by its innate resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents. Plasmid-mediated drug resistance also occurs by the production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL), metallo β-lactamases (MBL), and AmpC β-lactamases. Another important factor for establishment of chronic infections by P. aeruginosa is biofilm formation mediated by the psl gene cluster.


The aim of this study was to evaluate biofilm formation and presence of the pslA gene in burn isolates of P. aeruginosa as well as the association of antibiotic resistance, MBL, ESBL and AmpC β-lactamase production with biofilm formation among the isolates.


Sixty-two burn isolates of P. aeruginosa were obtained from Shahid Motahari Hospital in Tehran from August to October 2011. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined by the disc diffusion assay. MBL, AmpC and ESBL production were screened using the double disc synergy test, AmpC disc test and combined disc diffusion assay, respectively. The potential to form biofilm was measured using the microtiter plate assay and pslA gene was detected using specific primers and PCR.


Biofilm formation was observed in 43.5% of the isolates, of which 66.7% produced strong and 33.3% formed weak biofilms. All biofilm-positive and 14.2% of biofilm-negative isolates harbored the pslA gene. MBL, AmpC and ESBL production were significantly higher in the biofilm-positive isolates (70.3%, 62.9% and 33.3%, respectively) compared to the biofilm-negative strains (31.4%, 34.2% and 20%, respectively). Overall, 19 isolates (30.6%) co-produced MBL and AmpC, among which the majority were biofilm-positive (63.1%). Finally, four isolates (6.4%) had all three enzymes, of which 3 (75%) produced biofilm.


Biofilm formation (both strong and weak) strongly correlated with pslA gene carriage. Biofilm formation also correlated with MBL and AmpC β-lactamase production. More importantly, multiple-β-lactamase phenotype was associated with formation of strong biofilms.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa; PslA; biofilm; β-Lactamase

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