Aims: To study the interactions between Candida albicans and 12 other species of Candida and bacteria in biofilms.
Methods and results: The number of cells within growing biofilms in a polystyrene tube model was measured after adding C. albicans to preformed biofilms of other micro-organisms and vice versa. It was also measured after simultaneous biofilm formation of C. albicans and other micro-organisms. The number of cells of C. albicans within the growing biofilms decreased significantly (P < 0.05) when the fungus was added to preformed biofilms of Candida spp. and bacteria except, with C. parapsilosis, Torulopsis glabrata and the glycocalyx producer Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When C. parapsilosis, Staphylococcus epidermidis (nonglycocalyx producer) or Serratia marcescens was added to preformed biofilms of C. albicans, the number of cells of these micro-organisms increased in the growing biofilms.
Conclusions: Biofilms of C. albicans are capable of holding other micro-organisms and more likely to be heterogeneous with other bacteria and fungi in the environment and on medical devices.
Significance and impact of the study: Recognition of the heterogeneity of biofilm-associated organisms can influence treatment decisions, particularly in patients who do not respond to initial appropriate therapy.