Interspecies biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia

Can J Microbiol. 2001 Oct;47(10):949-54.


The leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) continues to be lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Co-colonization of the lungs with P aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia can result in more severe pulmonary disease than P. aeruginosa alone. The interactions between P. aeruginosa biofilms and B. cepacia are not yet understood; one possible association being that mixed species biofilm formation may be part of the interspecies relationship. Using the Calgary Biofilm Device (CBD), members of all genomovars of the B. cepacia complex were shown to form biofilms, including those isolated from CF lungs. Mixed species biofilm formation between CF isolates of P. aeruginosa and B. cepacia was readily achieved using the CBD. Oxidation-fermentation lactose agar was adapted as a differential agar to monitor mixed biofilm composition. Scanning electron micrographs of the biofilms demonstrated that both species readily integrated in close association in the biofilm structure. Pseudomonas aeruginosa laboratory strain PAO1, however, inhibited mixed biofilm formation of both CF isolates and environmental strains of the B. cepacia complex. Characterization of the soluble inhibitor suggested pyocyanin as the active compound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Burkholderia cepacia / isolation & purification
  • Burkholderia cepacia / physiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*