Genetic features of resident biofilms determine attachment of Listeria monocytogenes

Olivier Habimana, Mickael Meyrand, Thierry Meylheuc, Saulius Kulakauskas, Romain Briandet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Planktonic Listeria monocytogenes cells in food-processing environments tend most frequently to adhere to solid surfaces. Under these conditions, they are likely to encounter resident biofilms rather than a raw solid surface. Although metabolic interactions between L. monocytogenes and resident microflora have been widely studied, little is known about the biofilm properties that influence the initial fixation of L. monocytogenes to the biofilm interface. To study these properties, we created a set of model resident Lactococcus lactis biofilms with various architectures, types of matrices, and individual cell surface properties. This was achieved using cell wall mutants that affect bacterial chain formation, exopolysaccharide (EPS) synthesis and surface hydrophobicity. The dynamics of the formation of these biofilm structures were analyzed in flow cell chambers using in situ time course confocal laser scanning microscopy imaging. All the L. lactis biofilms tested reduced the initial immobilization of L. monocytogenes compared to the glass substratum of the flow cell. Significant differences were seen in L. monocytogenes settlement as a function of the genetic background of resident lactococcal biofilm cells. In particular, biofilms of the L. lactis chain-forming mutant resulted in a marked increase in L. monocytogenes settlement, while biofilms of the EPS-secreting mutant efficiently prevented pathogen fixation. These results offer new insights into the role of resident biofilms in governing the settlement of pathogens on food chain surfaces and could be of relevance in the field of food safety controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7814-7821
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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