Study Finds Clue to Salmonella Persistence in Feed

NORWAY - Researchers at the National Veterinary Institute in Oslo have found that the biofilm-forming abilities of Salmonella are correlated with their persistence in fish meal- and feed factories. L.K. Vestby and co-authors have published their paper recently in BMC Veterinary Research.
calendar icon 29 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read


Feed contaminated with Salmonella spp. constitutes a risk of Salmonella infections in animals, and subsequently in the consumers of animal products. Salmonella are occasionally isolated from the feed factory environment and some clones of Salmonella persist in the factory environment for several years.

One hypothesis is that biofilm formation facilitates persistence by protecting bacteria against environmental stress, e.g. disinfection.

The aim of the study at Norway's National Veterinary Institute was to study was to investigate the biofilm-forming potential of Salmonella strains from feed- and fishmeal factories. The study included 111 Salmonella strains isolated from Norwegian feed and fish meal factories in the period 1991-2006 of serovars Agona, Montevideo, Senftenberg and Typhimurium.


Significant differences were found between serovars regarding the abilities to form biofilm on polystyrene (microtitre plate assay) and in the liquid-air interface of nutrient broth (pellicle assay).

Strains of the Salmonella ser. Agona and Salmonella ser. Montevideo were good biofilm producers. In Norwegian factories, clones of these serovars have been observed to persist for several years.

Most Salmonella ser. Senftenberg clones appear to persist for a shorter period, and strains of this serovar were medium biofilm producers in our test systems.

Strains of the serovar Typhimurium were relatively poor biofilm producers. Salmonella ser. Typhimurium clones have not been observed to persist even though this serovar is resident in Norwegian wild life.

When classifying strains according to persistence or presumed non-persistence, persistent strains produced more biofilm than presumed non-persisting strains.


The results indicate a correlation between persistence and biofilm formation which suggests that biofilm forming ability may be an important factor for persistence of Salmonella in the factory environment, say the Norwegian researchers.


Vestby L.K., T. Moretro, S. Langsrud, E. Heir and L.L. Nesse. 2009. Biofilm forming abilities of Salmonella are correlated with persistence in fish meal- and feed factories. BMC Veterinary Research 2009, 5:20. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-5-20

Further Reading

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