Biofilm-forming ability and infection potential of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains isolated from animals and humans

Pathog Dis. 2018 Jun 1;76(4). doi: 10.1093/femspd/fty041.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been amongst the top 10 'superbugs' worldwide and is causing infections with poor outcomes in both humans and animals. From 202 P. aeruginosa isolates (n = 121 animal and n = 81 human), 40 were selected on the basis of biofilm-forming ability and were comparatively characterized in terms of virulence determinants to the type strain P. aeruginosa PAO1. Biofilm formation, pyocyanin and hemolysin production, and bacterial motility patterns were compared with the ability to kill human cell line A549 in vitro. On average, there was no significant difference between levels of animal and human cytotoxicity, while human isolates produced higher amounts of pyocyanin, hemolysins and showed increased swimming ability. Non-parametric statistical analysis identified the highest positive correlation between hemolysis and the swarming ability. For the first time an ensemble machine learning approach used on the in vitro virulence data determined the highest relative predictive importance of the submerged biofilm formation for the cytotoxicity, as an indicator of the infection ability. The findings from the in vitro study were validated in vivo using zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. This study highlighted no major differences between P. aeruginosa species isolated from animal and human infections and the importance of pyocyanin production in cytotoxicity and infection ability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Animals
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Expression
  • Hemolysin Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins / toxicity*
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Host Specificity
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / pathology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Pyocyanine / biosynthesis
  • Pyocyanine / genetics
  • Pyocyanine / toxicity*
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / biosynthesis
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish


  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Virulence Factors
  • Pyocyanine