Effects of sodium citrate on the structure and microbial community composition of an early-stage multispecies biofilm model

Yuan Yao, Yang Pu, Wing Yui Ngan, Karin Kan, Jie Pan, Meng Li, Olivier Habimana*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In recent years, most biofilm studies have focused on fundamental investigations using multispecies biofilm models developed preferentially in simulated naturally occurring low-nutrient medium than in artificial nutrient-rich medium. Because biofilm development under low-nutrient growth media is slow, natural media are often supplemented with an additional carbon source to increase the rate of biofilm formation. However, there are knowledge gaps in interpreting the effects of such supplementation on the resulting biofilm in terms of structure and microbial community composition. We investigated the effects of supplementation of a simulated freshwater medium with sodium citrate on the resulting structure, bacterial community composition, and microbial network interactions of an early-stage multispecies biofilm model. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of acquired confocal laser scanning microscopy data confirmed that sodium citrate supplementation distinctly increased biofilm biomass. Sequencing data revealed that the microbial community structure of biofilms grown in sodium citrate-supplemented conditions was characterized with increased relative abundance and dominance of Proteobacteria compared with that of biofilms grown in sodium citrate-free conditions. Our findings suggest that the supplementation of a low-nutrient medium with a carbon source in experiments involving multispecies biofilms may lead to structural and compositional biases of the microbial community, causing changes in biofilm phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16585
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of sodium citrate on the structure and microbial community composition of an early-stage multispecies biofilm model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this