Chicken juice enhances surface attachment and biofilm formation of Campylobacter jejuni

Helen Brown, Mark Reuter, Kathryn Cross, Louise Salt, Roy Betts, Arnoud Van Vliet

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116 Citations (Scopus)


The bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is primarily transmitted via the consumption of contaminated food-stuffs, especially poultry meat. In food processing environments, C. jejuni is required to survive a multitude of stresses and requires the use of specific survival mechanisms, such as biofilms. An initial step in biofilm formation is bacterial attachment to a surface. Here we have investigated the effects of a chicken meat exudate (chicken juice) on C. jejuni surface attachment and biofilm formation. Supplementation of Brucella broth with ≥5% chicken juice resulted in increased biofilm formation on glass, polystyrene and stainless steel surfaces with four C. jejuni isolates and one C. coli isolate, in both microaerobic and aerobic conditions. When incubated with chicken juice, C. jejuni was both able to grow, and form biofilms in static cultures in aerobic conditions. Electron microscopy showed that C. jejuni cells were associated with chicken juice particulates attached to the abiotic surface, rather than the surface itself. This suggests chicken juice contributes to C. jejuni biofilm formation by covering and conditioning the abiotic surface, and is a source of nutrients. Chicken juice was able to complement the reduction in biofilm formation of an aflagellated mutant of C. jejuni, indicating that chicken juice may support food chain transmission of isolates with lowered motility. This work provides a useful model for studying the interaction of C. jejuni biofilms in food chain-relevant conditions, and also shows a possible mechanism for C. jejuni cell attachment and biofilm initiation on abiotic surfaces within the food chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7053-7060
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number22
Early online date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • biofilm
  • chicken exudate
  • surface conditioning
  • food safety

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