Biofilm-Spore Response in Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis during Nutrient Limitation

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This study aimed to trace the dynamics of biofilm formation by vegetative cells and endospores of Bacillus cereus DL5 and Bacillus subtilis 168. Counts of B. cereus DL5 and B. subtilis 168 vegetative cells and spores either attached to glass wool or, correspondingly, planktonic cells were determined by standard plate-counting methods. Results from this study highlighted the biofilm-forming potential of both spores and vegetative cells of two different Bacillus species. It was shown that once Bacillus spores had attached to a surface, the spores germinated under favorable (B. cereus DL5) and even unfavorable (B. subtilis 168) nutrient conditions, resulting in biofilms containing both spores and vegetative populations. Furthermore, it was suggested that vegetative B. cereus DL5 cells exhibited a low propensity for spore formation in attached and planktonic growth forms in nutrient-limited growth medium. By contrast, vegetative B. subtilis 168 cells readily formed spores in planktonic and attached microcosms when exposed to nutrient-limited growth conditions. Sporulation in attached Bacillus populations is an important practical consideration for many food industries, such as dairy processing, where bacilli are routinely isolated from populations attached to processing-equipment surfaces.

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: School of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa 2: Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, NPB 252B, P.O. Box 2140D, Brookings, South Dakota 57007, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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