Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Biofilm-Forming Capabilities are not Predictable from Clinical Details or from Colonial Morphology

Diseases. 2020 Apr 30;8(2):11. doi: 10.3390/diseases8020011.


Antibiotic resistance is increasing to an extent where efficacy is not guaranteed when treating infection. Biofilm formation has been shown to complicate treatment, whereby the formation of biofilm is associated with higher minimum inhibitory concentration values of antibiotic. The objective of the current paper was to determine whether biofilm formation is variable among uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolates and whether formation is associated with recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI), and whether it can be predicted by phenotypic appearance on culture medium A total of 62 E. coli isolates that were reported as the causative agent of UTI were studied (33 from patients denoted as having recurrent UTI and 29 from patients not specified as having recurrent UTI). The biofilm forming capability was determined using a standard microtitre plate method, using E. coli ATCC 25922 as the positive control. The majority of isolates (93.6%) were found to be biofilm formers, whereby 81% were denoted as strong or very strong producers of biofilm when compared to the positive control. Through the use of a Wilcox test, the difference in biofilm forming propensity between the two patient populations was found to not be statistically significant (p = 0.5). Furthermore, it was noted that colony morphology was not a reliable predictor of biofilm-forming propensity. The findings of this study indicate that biofilm formation is very common among uropathogens, and they suggest that the biofilm-forming capability might be considered when treating UTI. Clinical details indicating a recurrent infection were not predictors of biofilm formation.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; biofilm formation; colony morphology; urinary tract infection; uropathogen.