Resistance of non-typeableHaemophilus influenzaebiofilms is independent of biofilm size

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Abstract

The inflammatory middle ear disease known as otitis media can become chronic or recurrent in some cases due to failure of the antibiotic treatment to clear the bacterial etiological agent. Biofilms are known culprits of antibiotic-resistant infections; however, the mechanisms of resistance for non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae biofilms have not been completely elucidated. In this study, we utilized in vitro static biofilm assays to characterize clinical strain biofilms and addressed the hypothesis that biofilms with greater biomass and/or thickness would be more resistant to antimicrobial-mediated eradication than thinner and/or lower biomass biofilms. Consistent with previous studies, antibiotic concentrations required to eliminate biofilm bacteria tended to be drastically higher than concentrations required to kill planktonic bacteria. The size characterizations of the biofilms formed by the clinical isolates were compared to their minimum biofilm eradication concentrations for four antibiotics. This revealed no correlation between biofilm thickness or biomass and the ability to resist eradication by antibiotics. Therefore, we concluded that biofilm size does not play a role in antibiotic resistance, suggesting that reduction of antibiotic penetration may not be a significant mechanism for antibiotic resistance for this bacterial opportunist.

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