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Biofilm formation and adhesion to bovine udder epithelium of potentially probiotic lactic acid bacteria

Faculty II, Department for Bioprocess Engineering and Microbiology of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany

Special Issues: Bacterial adherence: much more than a bond

Mastitis is one of the most important diseases threatening modern dairy herds. The idea of fighting the disease through colonising the udder with lactic acid bacteria (LAB), thereby building a beneficial biofilm, is the base for a probiotic approach towards mastitis control. The purpose of this study was to screen 13 LAB strains (eleven wild strains, two ATCC strains) inhibitory to the growth of mastitis-causing pathogens for their in vitro ability to form a biofilm and to adhere to bovine glandular mammary epithelium in order to assess their probiotic potential. Furthermore, we aimed to gain knowledge about the chemical nature of the adhesins involved by subjecting the bacteria to various chemical and enzymatical pre-treatments. The biofilms were grown on hydrophilic glass and on hydrophobic polypropylene in de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) broth and afterwards quantified with a crystal violet assay. Biofilm formation was observed in all strains. However, the extent strongly depended on the strain, surface charge and medium. The adhesion assay also revealed a strong strain dependency, but this trait was also present in all of the investigated LAB isolates. Depending on the strain, chemical or enzymatical pre-treatment revealed carbohydrate molecules as well as proteins and lipids to be crucial for the adhesion of LAB to epithelial cells. The seven strains showing the strongest biofilm formation and/or adhesion represent promising candidates for further investigation in order to develop a probiotic remedy for the treatment of mastitis. Still, their safety for consumers and patients as well as their capability to colonise the udder remain to be investigated in in vivo studies.
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