The role of fructans on dental biofilm formation by Streptococcus sobrinus, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus gordonii and Actinomyces viscosus

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Feb 20;195(2):205-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2001.tb10522.x.


Dental plaque biofilm plays a pivotal role in the progression of dental diseases. Polysaccharides are of great importance in the ecology of the dental biofilm. We studied the effect of fructans, glucans and a mixture of both fructans and glucans, synthesized in situ by immobilized fructosyltransferase or glucosyltransferase, on the adhesion of Streptococcus sobrinus, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus gordonii and Actinomyces viscosus to hydroxyapatite beads coated with human saliva (sHA). The adhesion of A. viscosus to sHA was found to be fructan-dependent. Adhesion of both S. sobrinus and S. mutans was found to be mediated mainly by glucans, while the adhesion of S. gordonii was found to be both glucan- and fructan-dependent. Treatment with fructanase prior to A. viscosus adhesion resulted in a significant reduction in adhesion to sHA, while adhesion of S. sobrinus, S. mutans and S. gordonii was slightly influenced by fructanase treatment. Treatment with fructanase after adhesion of S. gordonii to sHA resulted in a significant reduction in their adhesion to sHA. Our results show that fructans may play a role in the adhesion and colonization of several cariogenic bacteria to sHA, thus contributing to the formation of dental plaque biofilm.

MeSH terms

  • Actinomyces viscosus / physiology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Fructans / metabolism*
  • Fructans / pharmacology
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Glucans / pharmacology
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyapatites
  • Saliva
  • Streptococcus / physiology*
  • Streptococcus mutans / physiology
  • Streptococcus sobrinus / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fructans
  • Glucans
  • Hydroxyapatites
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • levanase