Violacein and biofilm production in Janthinobacterium lividum

J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Apr;102(4):992-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.03155.x.


Aims: To analyse the environmental stimuli modulating violacein and biofilm production in Janthinobacterium lividum.

Methods and results: Violacein and biofilm production by J. lividum DSM1522(T) was assayed in different growth conditions. Our data suggest that violacein and biofilm production is controlled by the carbon source, being inhibited by glucose and enhanced by glycerol. J. lividum produced violacein also in the presence of different sub-inhibitory concentrations of ampicillin. As opposite, the production of N-acylhomoserine lactone(s), quorum sensing regulators was shown to be positively regulated by glucose. Moreover, violacein-producing cultures of J. lividum showed higher CFU counts than violacein-nonproducing ones.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results suggest that violacein and biofilm production could be regulated by a common metabolic pathway and that violacein as well as biofilm could represent a response to environmental stresses and a key factor in the survival mechanisms of J. lividum.

Significance and impact of the study: Although several recent studies disclosed a number of interesting biological properties of violacein, few data are reported on the physiologic function of violacein in J. lividum. This paper adds new information on the complex mechanisms allowing and regulating bacterial life in hostile environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Proteobacteria / growth & development
  • Proteobacteria / metabolism*
  • Quorum Sensing / drug effects


  • Indoles
  • violacein