Research article

BMC Veterinary Research

, 6:48

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Micro ecosystems from feed industry surfaces: a survival and biofilm study of Salmonella versus host resident flora strains

  • Olivier HabimanaAffiliated withNofima Mat AS Email author 
  • , Trond MøretrøAffiliated withNofima Mat AS
  • , Solveig LangsrudAffiliated withNofima Mat AS
  • , Lene K VestbyAffiliated withSection of Bacteriology, National Veterinary Institute, Sentrum
  • , Live L NesseAffiliated withSection of Bacteriology, National Veterinary Institute, Sentrum
  • , Even HeirAffiliated withNofima Mat AS



The presence of Salmonella enterica serovars in feed ingredients, products and processing facilities is a well recognized problem worldwide. In Norwegian feed factories, strict control measures are implemented to avoid establishment and spreading of Salmonella throughout the processing chain. There is limited knowledge on the presence and survival of the resident microflora in feed production plants. Information on interactions between Salmonella and other bacteria in feed production plants and how they affect survival and biofilm formation of Salmonella is also limited. The aim of this study was to identify resident microbiota found in feed production environments, and to compare the survival of resident flora strains and Salmonella to stress factors typically found in feed processing environments. Moreover, the role of dominant resident flora strains in the biofilm development of Salmonella was determined.


Surface microflora characterization from two feed productions plants, by means of 16 S rDNA sequencing, revealed a wide diversity of bacteria. Survival, disinfection and biofilm formation experiments were conducted on selected dominant resident flora strains and Salmonella. Results showed higher survival properties by resident flora isolates for desiccation, and disinfection compared to Salmonella isolates. Dual-species biofilms favored Salmonella growth compared to Salmonella in mono-species biofilms, with biovolume increases of 2.8-fold and 3.2-fold in the presence of Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas, respectively.


These results offer an overview of the microflora composition found in feed industry processing environments, their survival under relevant stresses and their potential effect on biofilm formation in the presence of Salmonella. Eliminating the establishment of resident flora isolates in feed industry surfaces is therefore of interest for impeding conditions for Salmonella colonization and growth on feed industry surfaces. In-depth investigations are still needed to determine whether resident flora has a definite role in the persistence of Salmonella in feed processing environments.