Differential metabolism between biofilm and suspended Pseudomonas aeruginosa cultures in bovine synovial fluid by 2D NMR-based metabolomics

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 15;12(1):17317. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22127-x.


Total joint arthroplasty is a common surgical procedure resulting in improved quality of life; however, a leading cause of surgery failure is infection. Periprosthetic joint infections often involve biofilms, making treatment challenging. The metabolic state of pathogens in the joint space and mechanism of their tolerance to antibiotics and host defenses are not well understood. Thus, there is a critical need for increased understanding of the physiological state of pathogens in the joint space for development of improved treatment strategies toward better patient outcomes. Here, we present a quantitative, untargeted NMR-based metabolomics strategy for Pseudomonas aeruginosa suspended culture and biofilm phenotypes grown in bovine synovial fluid as a model system. Significant differences in metabolic pathways were found between the suspended culture and biofilm phenotypes including creatine, glutathione, alanine, and choline metabolism and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. We also identified 21 unique metabolites with the presence of P. aeruginosa in synovial fluid and one uniquely present with the biofilm phenotype in synovial fluid. If translatable in vivo, these unique metabolite and pathway differences have the potential for further development to serve as targets for P. aeruginosa and biofilm control in synovial fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism
  • Biofilms
  • Cattle
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas Infections*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa* / physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Synovial Fluid


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Glutathione
  • Creatine
  • Choline
  • Alanine