Matrix polymers of Candida biofilms and their possible role in biofilm resistance to antifungal agents

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2000 Sep;46(3):397-403. doi: 10.1093/jac/46.3.397.


Extracellular polymeric material (EP), comprising the matrix of Candida albicans biofilms, was isolated and its composition was compared with that of EP obtained from culture supernatants of planktonically grown (suspended) organisms. Both preparations consisted of carbohydrate, protein, phosphorus and hexosamine, but biofilm EP contained significantly less total carbohydrate (41%) and protein (5%) than planktonic EP. It also had a higher proportion of glucose (16%) and contained galactose, suggesting that it might possess components unique to biofilms. To investigate whether the EP matrix plays a role in the resistance of biofilms to antifungal agents, susceptibility profiles of biofilms incubated statically (which have relatively little matrix) were compared with those for biofilms incubated with gentle shaking (which produce much more matrix material). Biofilms grown with or without shaking did not exhibit significant differences in susceptibility to any of the drugs tested, indicating that drug resistance is unrelated to the extent of matrix formation. However, biofilms formed on two different types of polyvinyl chloride catheter, obtained from different manufacturers, showed differences in susceptibility to amphotericin B, suggesting that drug resistance may arise as a result of highly specific, surface-induced gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • Dentures
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Polymers* / chemistry
  • Stomatitis / microbiology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Polymers