Candida albicans enhances meropenem tolerance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a dual-species biofilm

Farhana Alam, Dominic Catlow, Alessandro Di Maio, Jessica Blair, Rebecca Hall

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa isan opportunistic bacterium that infects the airways of cystic fibrosispatients, surfaces of surgical and burn wounds, and indwelling medical devices.Patients are prone to secondary fungal infections, with Candida albicans beingcommonly co-isolated with P. aeruginosa. Both P. aeruginosa and C.albicans are able to form extensive biofilms on the surfaces of mucosa andmedical devices.


To determine whether the presence of C. albicans enhancesantibiotic tolerance of P. aeruginosa in a dual-species biofilm.


Single- and dual-species biofilms were established inmicrotitre plates and the survival of each species was measured followingtreatment with clinically relevant antibiotics. Scanning electron microscopyand confocal microscopy were used to visualize biofilm structure.


C. albicans enhances P. aeruginosa biofilmtolerance to meropenem at the clinically relevant concentration of 5 mg/L. Thiseffect is specific to biofilm cultures and is dependent upon C. albicans extracellularmatrix polysaccharides, mannan and glucan, with C. albicans cellsdeficient in glycosylation structures not enhancing P. aeruginosa toleranceto meropenem.


We propose that fungal mannan and glucan secreted into theextracellular matrix of P. aeruginosa/C. albicans dual-speciesbiofilms play a central role in enhancing P. aeruginosa tolerance tomeropenem, which has direct implications for the treatment of coinfectedpatients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdkz514
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Early online date22 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2019


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