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Respiratory failure caused by chronic and recurrent microbial infections is the most common cause of death for people with cystic fibrosis (CF)1, a disease causing the formation of thick mucus in the lungs2. Most bacteria can form biofilms, collections of sessile cells adhered to a surface by a secreted substance. Biofilm-associated cells develop antibiotic resistance at higher rates3. The thicker mucus in CF lungs is extremely difficult to clear via action of the mucociliary escalator and its presence fosters the formation of bacterial biofilms. Staphylococcus aureus and Burkholderia cenocepacia are two pathogens commonly found in the CF lung. Previous work in the Yoder-Himes laboratory established an antagonistic relationship between members of the B. cepacia complex and S. aureus biofilms4. To understand this antagonism, it is crucial to identify the biofilm changes occurring when S. aureus and B. cenocepacia interact. This work provides insight into the changes that may be responsible for the reduced viability of S. aureus in biofilms. Using crystal violet to measure biofilm biomass, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and assessing differences in antibiotic susceptibility, S. aureus and B. cenocepacia were examined in both monoculture and co-culture conditions. The results of this experiment indicate S. aureus and B. cenocepacia biofilm formation increases over time and is greater in nutrient-rich media. Additionally, B. cenocepacia inhibits biofilm formation of S. aureus. These findings provide information that can be used for understanding the interactions between pathogenic bacteria in the lungs of CF patients, leading to the development of more effective therapeutics.
biofilm, Staphylococcus aureus, Burkholderia cenocepacia
Microbiology | Pathogenic Microbiology
Wall, Bridget; Brandt, Tiffany J.; and Yoder-Himes, Dr. Deborah, "Biofilm Associated Staphylococcus Aureus Viability is Altered By Burkholderia Cenocepacia" (2020). Undergraduate Arts and Research Showcase. 33.