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Staphylococcus haemolyticus as a potential producer of biosurfactants with antimicrobial, anti‐adhesive and synergistic properties

Rossi, C.C., Santos‐Gandelman, J.F., Barros, E.M., Alvarez, V.M., Laport, M.S., Giambiagi‐deMarval, M.
Letters in applied microbiology 2016 v.63 no.3 pp. 215-221
Staphylococcus haemolyticus, bacteria, biofilm, biosurfactants, growth retardation, humans, pathogens, synergism, tetracycline, virulence
Staphylococcus haemolyticus is an opportunistic human pathogen that usually gains entry into the host tissue in association with medical device contamination. Biofilm formation is a key factor for the establishment of this bacterium and its arrangement and dynamics can be influenced by the synthesis of biosurfactants. Biosurfactants are structurally diverse amphiphilic molecules with versatile biotechnological applications, but information on their production by staphylococci is still scarce. In this work, two Staph. haemolyticus strains, showing high potential for biosurfactant production – as observed by four complementary methods – were investigated. Biosurfactant extracts were produced and studied for their capacity to inhibit the growth and biofilm formation by other bacterial human pathogens. The biosurfactant produced by the one of the strains inhibited the growth of most bacteria tested and subinhibitory concentrations of the biosurfactant were able to decrease biofilm formation and showed synergistic effects with tetracycline. Because these results were also positive when the biosurfactants were tested against the producing strains, it is likely that biosurfactant production by Staph. haemolyticus may be an unexplored virulence factor, important for competition and biofilm formation by the bacterium, in addition to the biotechnological potential. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This work is the first to show the production of biosurfactants by Staphylococcus haemolyticus strains. Extracts showed antimicrobial, anti‐adhesive and synergistic properties against a variety of relevant human pathogens, including the producing strains. In addition to the biotechnological potential, biosurfactants produced by Staph. haemolyticus are potentially undescribed virulence determinants in their producing strains.