Responses of Salmonella biofilms to oxidizing biocides: Evidence of spatial clustering

Kerry Guest, Thomas Whalley, Jean‐Yves Maillard, Andreas Artemiou, Barbara Szomolay, Mark A. Webber

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The spatial organization of biofilm bacterial communities can be influenced by several factors, including growth conditions and challenge with antimicrobials. Differential survival of clusters of cells within biofilms has been observed. In this work, we present a variety of methods to identify, quantify and statistically analyse clusters of live cells from images of two Salmonella strains with differential biofilm forming capacity exposed to three oxidizing biocides. With a support vector machine approach, we showed spatial separation between the two strains, and, using statistical testing and high-performance computing (HPC), we determined conditions which possess an inherent cluster structure. Our results indicate that there is a relationship between biocide potency and inherent biofilm formation capacity with the tendency to select for spatial clusters of survivors. There was no relationship between positions of clusters of live or dead cells within stressed biofilms. This work identifies an approach to robustly quantify clusters of physiologically distinct cells within biofilms and suggests work to understand how clusters form and survive is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6426-6438
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Early online date27 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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