A comparative analysis of phenotypic and genotypic methods for the determination of the biofilm-forming abilities of Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Research paper by Renata R Los, Rafal R Sawicki, Marek M Juda, Magdalena M Stankevic, Pawel P Rybojad, Marek M Sawicki, Anna A Malm, Grazyna G Ginalska

Indexed on: 21 Aug '10Published on: 21 Aug '10Published in: FEMS Microbiology Letters


The collection of 146 Staphylococcus epidermidis strains isolated from the nasopharynx of lung cancer patients has been studied for the ability of slime secretion and biofilm formation using the Congo red agar (CRA) test and the microtiter plate (MtP) method, respectively. The prevalence of the icaAD and the aap genes was also analyzed. Some isolates (35.6%) were biofilm positive by the MtP method, while 58.9% of isolates exhibited a slime-positive phenotype by the CRA test. The sensitivities of the CRA test evaluated using the MtP method as a gold standard of biofilm production were 73.1%, 97.3% and 13.3% for all the strains screened, ica-positive and ica-negative strains, respectively. The genotype ica(+)aap(+) was correlated with a strong biofilm-producer phenotype. Interestingly, some of the ica(-)aap(-) isolates could also form a biofilm. The correlation between the presence of icaAD genes and the biofilm-positive phenotype by the MtP method as well as slime production by the CRA test was statistically significant (P<0.0001). However, some S. epidermidis strains possess the potential ability of ica-independent biofilm formation; thus, further studies are needed to determine reliable, short-time criteria for an in vitro assessment of biofilm production by staphylococci.