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A synthetic polymicrobial community biofilm model demonstrates spatial partitioning, tolerance to antimicrobial treatment, reduced metabolism, and small colony variants typical of chronic wound biofilms

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posted on 2023-01-16, 16:59 authored by Ammara Khalid, Alan R. Cookson, David E. Whitworth, Mike BeetonMike Beeton, Lori I. Robins, Sarah Maddocks

 Understanding  chronic  wound  infection  is  key  for  successful  treatment  and  requiresaccurate laboratory models. We describe a modified biofilm flow device that effectively mimics thechronic wound environment, including simulated wound fluid, a collagen-based 3D biofilm matrix,and a five-species mixture of clinically relevant bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa,Staphylococcus aureus,Escherichia coli,Enterococcus faecalis, andCitrobacter freundii). Mixed biofilms were cultured for between3 and 14 days with consistent numbers of bacteria that exhibited reduced metabolic activity, whichincreased with a high dose of glucose.S. aureuswas recovered from biofilms as a small colony variant,but as a normal colony variant ifP. aeruginosawas excluded from the system.  Bacteria within thebiofilm did not co-aggregate but formed discrete, species-specific clusters. Biofilms demonstrateddifferential tolerance to the topical antimicrobials Neosporin and HOCl, consistent with protectiondue to the biofilm lifestyle. The characteristics exhibited within this model match those of real-worldwound biofilms, reflecting the clinical scenario and yielding a powerfulin vitrotool that is versatile,inexpensive, and pivotal for understanding chronic wound infection. 


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Khalid, A., Cookson, A. R., Whitworth, D. E., Beeton, M. L., Robins, L. I., & Maddocks, S. E. (2023) 'A Synthetic Polymicrobial Community Biofilm Model Demonstrates Spatial Partitioning, Tolerance to Antimicrobial Treatment, Reduced Metabolism, and Small Colony Variants Typical of Chronic Wound Biofilms', Pathogens, 12(1), 118.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Michael Beeton Sarah Maddocks

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Microbiology & Infection

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en

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