Bacterial biofilms have great significance for public health, since biofilm-associated microorganisms exhibit dramatically decreased susceptibility to antimicrobial agents and treatments. To date most attention has focused on biofilms that arise from the colonization of solid-liquid or solid-air interfaces. It is of interest that colonization of the interface between air and liquid, which can be selectively advantageous for aerobic or facultative aerobic bacteria, has been rarely studied, although it may present a major problem in industrial aquatic systems. In this work we investigated the role of a biofilm at the interface between air and liquid (pellicle) in the susceptibility of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to stress conditions. For a control we used a mutant that had lost its ability to synthesize cellulose and thin aggregative fimbriae and thus did not produce the pellicle. Resistance of bacteria from the pellicle to heat, acidification, and chlorination was compared to resistance of planktonic cells from the logarithmic and stationary phases of growth. Pellicle cells were significantly more resistant to chlorination, and thus the surrounding matrix conferred protection against the reactive sodium hypochlorite. However, the stress management of pellicle cells in response to heat and low pH was not enhanced compared to that of stationary-phase cells. A long-period of incubation resulted in endogenous hydrolysis of the pellicle matrix. This phenomenon provides a potential new approach to combat microbial cells in biofilms
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