Applied and environmental microbiology

Biofilm formation on biotic and abiotic surfaces in the presence of antimicrobials by Escherichia coli Isolates from cases of bovine mastitis.

PMID 25063668


Escherichia coli is a highly adaptive microorganism, and its ability to form biofilms under certain conditions can be critical for antimicrobial resistance. The adhesion of four E. coli isolates from bovine mastitis to bovine mammary alveolar (MAC-T) cells, biofilm production on a polystyrene surface, and the expression profiles of the genes fliC, csgA, fimA, and luxS in the presence of enrofloxacin, gentamicin, co-trimoxazole, and ampicillin at half of the MIC were investigated. Increased adhesion of E. coli isolates in the presence of antimicrobials was not observed; however, increased internalization of some isolates was observed by confocal microscopy. All of the antimicrobials induced the formation of biofilms by at least one isolate, whereas enrofloxacin and co-trimoxazole decreased biofilm formation by at least one isolate. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that all four genes were differentially expressed when bacteria were exposed to subinhibitory concentrations of antimicrobials, with expression altered on the order of 1.5- to 22-fold. However, it was not possible to associate gene expression with induction or reduction of biofilm formation in the presence of the antimicrobials. Taken together, the results demonstrate that antimicrobials could induce biofilm formation by some isolates, in addition to inducing MAC-T cell invasion, a situation that might occur in vivo, potentially resulting in a bacterial reservoir in the udder, which might explain some cases of persistent mastitis in herds.