MorphoCol: A Powerful Tool for the Clinical Profiling of Pathogenic Bacteria

  • Ana Margarida Sous
  • Anália Lourenço
  • Maria Olívia Pereira
Part of the Advances in Intelligent and Soft Computing book series (AINSC, volume 154)


Pathogenicity, virulence and resistance of infection-causing bacteria are noteworthy problems in clinical settings, even after disinfection practices and antibiotic courses. Although it is common knowledge that these traits are associated to phenotypic and genetic variations, recent studies indicate that colony morphology variations are a sign of increased bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents (i.e. antibiotics and disinfectants) and altered virulence and persistence.

The ability to search for and compare similar phenotypic appearances within and across species is believed to have vast potential in medical diagnose and clinical decision making. Therefore, we are developing a novel phenotypic ontology, the Colony Morphology Ontology (CMO), to share knowledge on the colony morphology variations of infection-causing bacteria. A study on the morphological variations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus strains, two pathogenic bacteria associated with nosocomial infections, supported the development of CMO. We are also developing a new Web-based framework for the modelling and analysis of biofilm phenotypic signatures, supported by the CMO. This framework, named MorphoCol, will enable data integration and interoperability across research groups and other biological databases.


infection-causing bacteria biofilms colony morphology phenotype ontology microbial database 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Margarida Sous
    • 1
  • Anália Lourenço
    • 1
  • Maria Olívia Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.IBB - Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Biological EngineeringUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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