Persistence of V. cholerae O139 Biofilm Against Physical, Chemical and Antibiotic Lethal Challenges

  • Preeti Gupta
  • Bharti Mankere
  • Shami Chekkoora Keloth
  • Urmil Tuteja
  • Kulanthaivel Thava ChelvamEmail author
Research Article


Since its emergence, cholera caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae remains as a significant threat to human health. The continued persistence of this pathogen against many unfavourable conditions made challenging to eradicate cholera, especially in the developing countries. In the hostile conditions, the bacterium is known to form a self-enclosed polymeric structure called ‘biofilm’ which serves as a major factor responsible for its persistence and transmission. Hence, the authors aimed to understand the effectiveness of relevant physical, chemical and antibiotic treatments against the biofilm of this bacterium. For the study, the biofilm of V. cholerae O139 wild type and its isogenic Tn5-mutants that differ in their biofilm phenotype (biofilm proficient and biofilm deficient) were exposed to different levels of pH, salinity, temperature, UV radiation, H2O2, chlorination, and antibiotics. It was observed that biofilm culture of both wild type and the biofilm-proficient mutant exhibited detectable survival rate up to pH 2.0, salinity 3.5 M, temperature 50 °C, H2O2 80 mM, NaOCl 12.5 mg/L and at several folds increased antibiotic concentration (Ciprofloxacin 2 mg/L, and Doxycycline 256 mg/L) as compared to the biofilm defective mutant and the planktonic cultures of respective strains. As the biofilm of the cholera pathogen or the cholera biofilm resists several lethal challenges, it is essential to target the biofilm and its residents for the complete destruction of the infection source and thereby to prevent transmission of cholera.


V. cholerae Cholera biofilm Persistence Tn5-mutants Lethal treatments 



The authors are thankful to the Director, Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) Gwalior, the Government of India (DRDE/MB/011/2018), for providing all the facilities and financial support to carry out this work. They are extremely grateful to Prof. Eric V. Stabb, Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens Georgia, for the kind gift of pEVS 168, pEVS104 vectors, and E. coli DH5 α/λpir host, which were used in the construction biofilm, altered Tn5 mutants of V. cholerae O139. This study was supported by Institutional fund provided by Defence R&D Establishment, Gwalior, Ministry of Defence, the Government of India.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40011_2018_1032_MOESM1_ESM.docx (201 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 200 kb)


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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microbiology DivisionDefence Research and Development EstablishmentGwaliorIndia

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