Zinc as an agent for the prevention of biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria
Article first published online: 4 APR 2013
Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2013 The Society for Applied Microbiology
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Volume 115, Issue 1, pages 30–40, July 2013
How to Cite
Wu, C., Labrie, J., Tremblay, Y.D.N., Haine, D., Mourez, M. and Jacques, M. (2013), Zinc as an agent for the prevention of biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 115: 30–40. doi: 10.1111/jam.12197
- Issue published online: 12 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 19 MAR 2013 10:32AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 12 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 21 DEC 2012
- bacterial pathogens;
Biofilm formation is important for the persistence of bacteria in hostile environments. Bacteria in a biofilm are usually more resistant to antibiotics and disinfectants than planktonic bacteria. Our laboratory previously reported that low concentrations of zinc inhibit biofilm formation of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of zinc on growth and biofilm formation of other bacterial swine pathogens.
Methods and Results
To determine the effect of zinc on biofilm formation, biofilms were grown with or without zinc in 96-well plates and stained with crystal violet. At micromolar concentrations (0–250 μ mol l−1), zinc weakly inhibited bacterial growth and it effectively blocked biofilm formation by A. pleuropneumoniae, Salmonella Typhymurium and Haemophilus parasuis in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, biofilm formation of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus suis was slightly inhibited by zinc. However, zinc did not disperse preformed biofilms. To determine whether zinc inhibits biofilm formation when poly-N-acetylglucosamine (PGA) is present, PGA was detected with the lectin wheat germ agglutinin. Only A. pleuropneumoniae and Staph. aureus biofilms were found to contain PGA.
Zinc used at nonbactericidal concentrations can inhibit biofilm formation by several Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial swine pathogens.
Significance and Impact of Study
The antibiofilm activity of zinc could provide a tool to fight biofilms, and the nonspecific inhibitory effect may well extend to other important human and animal bacterial pathogens.