Bacterial Biofilms and Listeria on Floor Drains

A recent paper Dzieciol et al uses 16S pyrosequencing to characterize the bacterial biofilms on floor drains. Listeria monocytogenes was also tested for using both cuture-independent and -dependent techniques. Here is the abstract:

Sanitation protocols are applied on a daily basis in food processing facilities to prevent the risk of cross-contamination with spoilage organisms. Floor drain water serves along with product-associated samples (slicer dust, brine or cheese smear) as an important hygiene indicator in monitoring Listeria monocytogenes in food processing facilities. Microbial communities of floor drains are representative for each processing area and are influenced to a large degree by food residues, liquid effluents and washing water. The microbial communities of drain water are steadily changing, whereas drain biofilms provide more stable niches. Bacterial communities of four floor drains were characterized using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing to better understand the composition and exchange of drain water and drain biofilm communities. Furthermore, the L. monocytogenes contamination status of each floor drain was determined by applying cultivation-independent real-time PCR quantification and cultivation-dependent detection according to ISO11290-1. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes of drain water and drain biofilm bacterial communities yielded 50,611 reads, which were clustered into 641 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), affiliated to 16 phyla dominated by Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. The most abundant OTUs represented either product- (Lactococcus lactis) or fermentation- and food spoilage-associated phylotypes (Pseudomonas mucidolens, Pseudomonas fragi, Leuconostoc citreum, andAcetobacter tropicalis). The microbial communities in DW and DB samples were distinct in each sample type and throughout the whole processing plant, indicating the presence of indigenous specific microbial communities in each processing compartment. The microbiota of drain biofilms was largely different from the microbiota of the drain water. A sampling approach based on drain water alone may thus only provide reliable information on planktonic bacterial cells but might not allow conclusions on the bacterial composition of the microbiota in biofilms.

The drains were incredibly diverse, and they also found that the drain water and drain biofilms had different communities. Unfortunately, this isn’t open access, but for those who can read it, this study seems pretty interesting.



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Alex Alexiev

Alex Alexiev is a recent UC Davis graduate with a BS in microbiology working in Jonathan Eisen’s lab on aquariums as part of the microbiology of the built environment.