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Influence of Central Metabolism Disruption on Escherichia coli Biofilm Formation.

Biofilms are widely recognized as a prominent mode of microbial growth and strategy of antimicrobial tolerance in many environments. Characteristics that are often overlooked in biofilm investigations include the examination of metabolic pathways as the assumption might be that interference with central pathways such as glycolysis would only reduce growth and thus not be meaningful. Using the Keio collection of Escherichia coli mutants, we investigated the influence of biofilm formation and planktonic growth in full strength and diluted Luria-Bertani (LB) broth using strains with a disruption of glycolysis (Δpgi), the Entner-Doudoroff pathway (Δedd), or the pentose phosphate pathway (Δgnd). Unexpectedly, in contrast to the E. coli Keio parent strain (BW25113), planktonic growth was enhanced in full strength and diluted LB broth in the metabolic mutants. Using a microtiter biofilm assay, the E. coli parent strain showed the highest crystal violet staining. However, when analyzed by culture assays, there was an increase in biofilm populations in the mutants in comparison to the parent strain. Fluorescence microscopy showed differences in colonization patterns in the strains. Given the availability of mutant collections in many model organisms, similar metabolic studies are warranted for biofilms, given their importance in nature.

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