Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25548046
Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2015 Mar;81(5):1813-9
Listeria monocytogenes is involved in food-borne illness with a high mortality rate. The persistence of the pathogen along the food chain can be associated with its ability to form biofilms on inert surfaces. While most of the phenotypes associated with biofilms are related to their spatial organization, most published data comparing biofilm formation by L. monocytogenes isolates are based on the quantitative crystal violet assay, which does not give access to structural information. Using a high-throughput confocal-imaging approach, the aim of this work was to decipher the structural diversity of biofilms formed by 96 L. monocytogenes strains isolated from various environments. Prior to large-scale analysis, an experimental design was created to improve L. monocytogenes biofilm formation in microscopic-grade microplates, with special emphasis on the growth medium composition. Microscopic analysis of biofilms formed under the selected conditions by the 96 isolates revealed only weak correlation between the genetic lineages of the isolates and the structural properties of the biofilms. However, a gradient in their geometric descriptors (biovolume, mean thickness, and roughness), ranging from flat multilayers to complex honeycomb-like structures, was shown. The dominant honeycomb-like morphotype was characterized by hollow voids hosting free-swimming cells and localized pockets containing mixtures of dead cells and extracellular DNA (eDNA).