Liverpool Epidemic Strain Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Display High Levels of Antimicrobial Resistance during Both Planktonic and Biofilm Growth

Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Jun 29;10(3):e0102422. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01024-22. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


Eight isolates of the Liverpool epidemic strain (LES) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have previously been characterized using comparative genomics and preliminary phenotypic assays. Here, we extend the characterization of these clinically relevant P. aeruginosa isolates with planktonic and biofilm growth assays and analysis of antibiotic susceptibility for both planktonic and biofilm cultures. Laboratory strains PAO1 and PA14 were included as comparator strains. Antibiotic susceptibility to eight classes of antibiotics was determined. MICs were determined to measure susceptibility of planktonic cultures, and minimum biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) assays were used to estimate levels of resistance during the production of biofilm. LES isolates had high levels of resistance compared with laboratory reference strains when grown planktonically (up to nine 2-fold dilutions higher), and resistance was increased in the biofilm mode of growth. Measurements of biofilm biomass in the MBEC assays showed that certain isolates often show increased biofilm biomass in the presence of antibiotics. IMPORTANCE Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen with high intrinsic antibiotic resistance. This resistance is typically increased in clinical isolates through adaptations to the host and production of small-colony variants (SCVs) and when P. aeruginosa forms biofilms, which are surface-attached communities that are protected by a self-produced matrix. Understanding the combination of SCVs, biofilm production, and the diversity of drug resistance phenotypes in clinical isolates can lead to improved treatments for P. aeruginosa infections.

Keywords: Liverpool epidemic strain; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; antibiotic resistance; biofilms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Biofilms
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plankton
  • Pseudomonas Infections*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa* / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Grants and funding