First reported detection of biofilm formation by Campylobacter fetus during investigation of a case of prosthetic valve endocarditis



Document Type




Publication Details

Journal of Clinical Pathology

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019 . No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


Aims Campylobacter fetus subsp fetus (CFF) can cause intestinal illness, particularly in immunocompromised humans, with the potential to cause severe systemic infections. CFF is a zoonotic pathogen with a broad host range among farm animals and humans, inducing abortion in sheep and cows. The current paper describes a strain of CFF isolated from a patient with prosthetic valve endocarditis in Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland, during 2017. Only five cases of C. fetus as a cause of prosthetic valve endocarditis have been reported in the literature, with no reports of biofilm formation within the species. Methods The aetiological strain was speciated and subspeciated by the VITEK 2 NH card and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry. CFF biofilm formation was analysed using a crystal violet staining method. C. jejuni National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) 11168 was used as a positive control organism. Strains were incubated statically in Mueller-Hinton broth and Mueller-Hinton broth supplemented with 0.025% sodium deoxycholate for 3 and 7 days at 37°C, microaerobically. Results The CFF strain formed stronger attached biofilms on polystyrene plates on day 3 (72 hours) than the C. jejuni NCTC 11168 control strain, but were weaker than the control strain on day 7 in Mueller-Hinton broth. Monoculture of this C. fetus isolate was found to exist in three defined forms of biofilms (attached, air-liquid interface and floccules). Conclusions This clinically significant C. fetus isolate showed considerable biofilm-forming capability, which we suggest conferred a survivalist advantage, contributing to the genesis of infective prosthetic valve endocarditis.

This document is currently not available here.