Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 541–553 | Cite as

Anti-adhesion activity of two biosurfactants produced by Bacillus spp. prevents biofilm formation of human bacterial pathogens

  • F. Rivardo
  • R. J. Turner
  • G. Allegrone
  • H. Ceri
  • M. G. Martinotti
Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology


In this work, two biosurfactant-producing strains, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis, have been characterized. Both strains were able to grow at high salinity conditions and produce biosurfactants up to 10% NaCl. Both extracted-enriched biosurfactants showed good surface tension reduction of water, from 72 to 26–30 mN/m, low critical micelle concentration, and high resistance to pH and salinity. The potential of the two lipopeptide biosurfactants at inhibiting biofilm adhesion of pathogenic bacteria was demonstrated by using the MBEC device. The two biosurfactants showed interesting specific anti-adhesion activity being able to inhibit selectively biofilm formation of two pathogenic strains. In particular, Escherichia coli CFT073 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 biofilm formation was decreased of 97% and 90%, respectively. The V9T14 biosurfactant active on the Gram-negative strain was ineffective against the Gram-positive and the opposite for the V19T21. This activity was observed either by coating the polystyrene surface or by adding the biosurfactant to the inoculum. Two fractions from each purified biosurfactant, obtained by flash chromatography, fractions (I) and (II), showed that fraction (II), belonging to fengycin-like family, was responsible for the anti-adhesion activity against biofilm of both strains.


Bacillus Biosurfactant Biofilm Anti-adhesion Escherichia coli CFT073 Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213 



This work was supported by a grant from the MARCOPOLO ENGINEERING S.p.a. (Borgo San Dalmazzo, Cuneo, Italy).

Work in H. Ceri’s laboratory and R. J. Turner’s laboratory was funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Rivardo
    • 1
  • R. J. Turner
    • 2
  • G. Allegrone
    • 1
  • H. Ceri
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. G. Martinotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Food, Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences (DiSCAFF), Drug and Food Biotechnology CentreUniversity of Eastern PiedmontNovaraItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Biofilm Research GroupUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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