Phenotypic and Genotypic Assays to Evaluate Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci Biofilm Production in Bloodstream Infections

Microorganisms. 2024 Jan 8;12(1):126. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms12010126.


Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are commensal on human body surfaces and, for years, they were not considered a cause of bloodstream infection and were often regarded as contamination. However, the involvement of CoNS in nosocomial infection is increasingly being recognized. The insertion of cannulas and intravascular catheters represents the primary source of CoNS entry into the bloodstream, causing bacteremia and sepsis. They owe their pathogenic role to their ability to produce biofilms on surfaces, such as medical devices. In this study, we evaluate the adhesive capacity of CoNS isolated from blood cultures by comparing a spectrophotometric phenotypic assay with genotypic analysis based on the evidence of the ica operon. We retrospectively reviewed the database of CoNS isolated from blood cultures from January to December 2021 that were considered responsible for 361 bloodstream infections. Eighty-nine CoNS were selected among these. Our data show that Staphylococcus epidermidis was the predominant species isolated, expressing greater adhesive capacities, especially those with the complete operon. Knowledge of the adhesive capabilities of a microorganism responsible for sepsis can be useful in implementing appropriate corrective and preventive measures, since conventional antibiotic therapy cannot effectively eradicate biofilms.

Keywords: S. epidermidis; biofilm; bloodstream infection; catheter; coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS).

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.