• dental plaque;
  • fluorescence;
  • oral microbiology;
  • porphyrins;
  • quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF)

The aim of this study was to assess the red autofluorescence from bacterial species related to dental caries and periodontitis in the presence of different nutrients in the growth medium. Bacteria were grown anaerobically on tryptic soy agar (TSA) supplemented with nutrients, including magnesium-porphyrins from spinach and iron-porphyrins from heme. The autofluorescence was then assessed at 405 nm excitation. On the TSA without additives, no autofluorescence was observed from any of the species tested. On the TSA containing sheep blood, red autofluorescence was observed only from Parvimonas micra. When the TSA was supplemented with blood, hemin, and vitamin K, red autofluorescence was observed from Actinomyces naeslundii, Bifidobacterium dentium, and Streptococcus mutans. Finally, on the TSA supplemented with spinach extract, red autofluorescence was observed from Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, A. naeslundii, Enterococcus faecalis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Lactobacillus salivarius, S. mutans, and Veillonella parvula. We conclude that the bacteria related to dental caries and periodontal disease exhibit red autofluorescence. The autofluorescence characteristics of the tested strains depended on the nutrients present, such as metalloporphyrins, suggesting that the metabolic products of the oral biofilm could be responsible for red autofluorescence.