Optimization of E. coli Inactivation by Benzalkonium Chloride Reveals the Importance of Quantifying the Inoculum Effect on Chemical Disinfection.
ABSTRACT: Optimal disinfection protocols are fundamental to minimize bacterial resistance to the compound applied, or cross-resistance to other antimicrobials such as antibiotics. The objective is twofold: guarantee safe levels of pathogens and minimize the excess of disinfectant after a treatment. In this work, the disinfectant dose is optimized based on a mathematical model. The model explains and predicts the interplay between disinfectant and pathogen at different initial microbial densities (inocula) and dose concentrations. The study focuses on the disinfection of Escherichia coli with benzalkonium chloride, the most common quaternary ammonium compound. Interestingly, the specific benzalkonium chloride uptake (mean uptake per cell) decreases exponentially when the inoculum concentration increases. As a consequence, the optimal disinfectant dose increases exponentially with the initial bacterial concentration.
Project description:Benzalkonium chlorides (BAC) are commonly used biocides in broad-spectrum disinfectant solutions. How microorganisms cope with BAC exposure remains poorly understood, despite its importance for disinfection and disinfectant-induced antibiotic resistance. To provide insights into these issues, we exposed two isolates of an opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to increasing concentrations of BAC. One isolate was preadapted to BAC, as it originated from a bioreactor fed with subinhibitory concentrations of BAC for 3 years, while the other originated from a bioreactor that received no BAC. Replicated populations of both isolates were able to survive high concentrations of BAC, up to 1,200 and 1,600 mg/liter for the non- and preadapted strains, respectively, exceeding typical application doses. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis revealed upregulation of efflux pump genes and decreased expression of porins related to BAC transport as well as reduced growth rate. Increased expression of spermidine (a polycation) synthase genes and mutations in the pmrB (polymyxin resistance) gene, which cause a reduction in membrane negative charge, suggested that a major adaptation to exposure to the cationic surfactant BAC was to actively stabilize cell surface charge. Collectively, these results revealed that P. aeruginosa adapts to BAC exposure by a combination of mechanisms and provided genetic markers to monitor BAC-resistant organisms that may have applications in the practice of disinfection.IMPORTANCE BAC are widely used as biocides in disinfectant solutions, food-processing lines, domestic households, and health care facilities. Due to their wide use and mode of action, there has been rising concern that BAC may promote antibiotic resistance. Consistent with this idea, at least 40 outbreaks have been attributed to infection by disinfectant- and antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as P. aeruginosa However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that bacteria use to deal with BAC exposure remain poorly elucidated. Elucidating these mechanisms may be important for monitoring and limiting the spread of disinfectant-resistant pathogens. Using an integrated approach that combined genomics and transcriptomics with physiological characterization of BAC-adapted isolates, this study provided a comprehensive understanding of the BAC resistance mechanisms in P. aeruginosa Our findings also revealed potential genetic markers to detect and monitor the abundance of BAC-resistant pathogens across clinical or environmental settings. This work contributes new knowledge about high concentrations of benzalkonium chlorides disinfectants-resistance mechanisms at the whole-cell genomic and transcriptomic level.
Project description:Benzalkonium chloride (BC) is a commonly used disinfectant and preservative. This study describes changes in expression level on the transcriptomic and proteomic level for Escherichia coli K12 gradually adapted to a tolerance level towards BC of 7-8 times the initial MIC. Results from DNA arrays and two-dimensional (2-DE) gel electrophoresis for global gene and protein expression studies were confirmed by real time quantitative PCR. Peptide mass fingerprinting by MALDI-TOF MS was used to identify differentially expressed proteins. Changes in expression level in adapted cells were shown for porins, drug transporters, glycolytic enzymes, ribosomal subunits and several genes and proteins involved in protection against oxidative stress and antibiotics. Adapted strains showed increased tolerance to several antibiotics. In conclusion, E. coli K12 adapted to higher tolerance to BC, acquired several general resistance mechanisms including responses normally related to the multiple antibiotic resistance (Mar) regulon and protection against oxidative stress. The results revealed that BC treatment might result in superoxide stress in E. coli. Keywords: Study of resistance mechanism Overall design: E. coli K12 was adapted to grow in the presence of benzalkonium chloride in three independen experiments resulting in three adapted strains (BCadapted1, BCadapted2 and BCadapted3). Control strains were cultivated in TSB before harvesting and adapted strains were cultivated either in TSB with or without 50 ppm benzalkonium chloride before harvesting. Cultures for transcriptional analysis were harvested three times at different days resulting in three replicate experiments. Samples from the fist day is termed replicate1, day 2 is termed replicate2 and day three replicate3. For the controls, samples from two cultures were sampled for replicate one and two.
Project description:Resistance to the quaternary ammonium disinfectant benzalkonium chloride (BC) may be an important contributor to the ability of Listeria spp. to persist in the processing plant environment. Although a plasmid-borne disinfectant resistance cassette (bcrABC) has been identified in Listeria monocytogenes, horizontal transfer of these genes has not been characterized. Nonpathogenic Listeria spp. such as L. innocua and L. welshimeri are more common than L. monocytogenes in food processing environments and may contribute to the dissemination of disinfectant resistance genes in listeriae, including L. monocytogenes. In this study, we investigated conjugative transfer of resistance to BC and to cadmium from nonpathogenic Listeria spp. to other nonpathogenic listeriae, as well as to L. monocytogenes. BC-resistant L. welshimeri and L. innocua harboring bcrABC, along with the cadmium resistance determinant cadA2, were able to transfer resistance to other nonpathogenic listeriae as well as to L. monocytogenes of diverse serotypes, including strains from the 2011 cantaloupe outbreak. Transfer among nonpathogenic Listeria spp. was noticeably higher at 25°C than at 37°C, whereas acquisition of resistance by L. monocytogenes was equally efficient at 25 and 37°C. When the nonpathogenic donors were resistant to both BC and cadmium, acquisition of cadmium resistance was an effective surrogate for transfer of resistance to BC, suggesting coselection between these resistance attributes. The results suggest that nonpathogenic Listeria spp. may behave as reservoirs for disinfectant and heavy metal resistance genes for other listeriae, including the pathogenic species L. monocytogenes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Rudolf Schuelke Foundation addresses topics related to hygiene, infection prevention and public health. In this context a panel of scientists from various European countries discussed "The Role of Surface Disinfection in Infection Prevention". The most important findings and conclusions of this meeting are summarised in the present consensus paper. AIM: Although the relevance of surface disinfection is increasingly being accepted, there are still a number of issues which remain controversial. In particular, the following topics were addressed: Transferral of microbes from surface to patients as a cause of infection, requirements for surface disinfectants, biocidal resistance and toxicity, future challenges. METHODS AND FINDINGS: After discussion and review of current scientific literature the authors agreed that contaminated surfaces contribute to the transmission of pathogens and may thus pose an infection hazard. Targeted surface disinfection based on a risk profile is seen as an indispensable constituent in a multibarrier approach of universal infection control precautions. Resistance and cross-resistance depend on the disinfectant agent as well as on the microbial species. Prudent implementation of surface disinfection regimens tested to be effective can prevent or minimize adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS: Disinfection must be viewed as a holistic process. There is a need for defining standard principles for cleaning and disinfection, for ensuring compliance with these principles by measures such as written standard operating procedures, adequate training and suitable audit systems. Also, test procedures must be set up in order to demonstrate the efficacy of disinfectants including new application methods such as pre-soaked wipes for surface disinfection.
Project description:Antimicrobial chemicals are widely applied to clean and disinfect food-contacting surfaces. However, the cellular response of bacteria, such as Bacillus cereus, to various disinfectants is unclear. In this study, the physiological and genome-wide transcriptional responses of B. cereus ATCC 14579 exposed to four different disinfectants (i.e., benzalkonium chloride, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, and peracetic acid) were analyzed. The physiological response of B. cereus to different concentrations of the disinfectants used was investigated. For each disinfectant, concentrations leading to the attenuation of growth, growth arrest, and cell death were studied in more detail. The simultaneous analysis of the transcriptional responses of B. cereus upon exposure to the different concentrations of disinfectants revealed common responses induced by the four disinfectants. Notably, genes involved in the general and oxidative stress responses were commonly up-regulated. Furthermore, the obtained results indicate that all the disinfectants also induce specific responses. Exposure to benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant known to induce membrane damage, specifically induced genes involved in the fatty acid metabolism. Benzalkonium chloride induced-membrane damage was confirmed by fluorescence microscopy and fatty acid analysis confirmed that fatty acid composition of cell membrane was affected upon exposure to benzalkonium chloride. Sodium hypochlorite induced genes involved in sulfur and sulfur-containing amino acids metabolism, which correlated with the observed sodium hypochlorite-specific induction of oxidation of sulphydryl groups. Hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid exposures induced genes involved in DNA damage and the SOS response. Notably, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid-treated cells exhibited higher mutation rates corroborating with the induced SOS response. Understanding the mechanisms displayed by microorganisms coping with disinfectants-induced stress may allow for design of more efficient sequential and/or disinfectant combination treatments in food processing environments. Overall design: Each sample was treated for 10 and 30 min with different disinfectants (i.e., benzalkonium chloride, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, and peracetic acid) and compared with non-exposed cells (i.e., t0). For each disinfectant different concentrations were used: mild concentration, growth arresting concentrations (only for benzalkonium chloride and sodium hypochlorite), and lethal concentrations. The experiments were performed in duplicate and the duplicate samples were hybridized with a dye-swap.
Project description:Touching of contaminated objects and surfaces is a well-known method of virus transmission. Once they are attached to the hands, viruses can easily get adsorbed and initiate infection. Hence, disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is of major importance to prevent virus spreading. Here we studied the antiviral activity of a glucoprotamin-containing disinfectant against influenza A virus and the model virus vaccinia virus (VACV) dried on inanimate surfaces. The efficacy of the surface disinfectant on stainless steel, polyvinyl chloride, and glass coupons was investigated in a quantitative carrier test. Vacuum-dried viruses were exposed to 0.25%, 0.5%, and 1% disinfectant for 5 min, 15 min, and 30 min without agitation, and residual infectivity was determined by endpoint titration. Although glucoprotamin was highly active against both viruses in suspension, limited antiviral activity against the surface-dried viruses was detected. Even after 30 min of exposure to 1% disinfectant, VACV was not completely inactivated. Furthermore, influenza A virus inactivation was strongly affected by the surface composition during the 5-min and 15-min treatments with 0.25% and 0.5% disinfectant. The results presented in this study highlight the relevance of practical tests to assess the antiviral activity of surface disinfectants. High virucidal activity in solution is not necessarily indicative of high antiviral activity against surface-dried viruses. In addition, we want to emphasize that the mere exposure of surfaces to disinfectants might not be sufficient for virus inactivation and mechanical action should be applied to bring attached viruses into contact with virucidal compounds.
Project description:The goal of this RNA-Seq study was to determine Acinetobacter baumannii's transcriptiional response to sub-MIC concentrations of benzalkonium chloride in Acinetobacter baumannii. This RNA-seq data was then utilized to aide in the determination of the sub-MIC mechanism of action for benzalkonium chloride. Overall design: Two control samples and two treated samples were used
Project description:The goal of this Tn-Seq study was to determine important determinants of Acinetobacter baumannii tolerance of sub-MIC concentrations of benzalkonium chloride. This Tn-seq data was then utilized to aide in the determination of the sub-MIC mechanism of action for benzalkonium chloride. Overall design: Two control samples and two treated samples were used
Project description:While the misuse of antibiotics has clearly contributed to the emergence and proliferation of resistant bacterial pathogens, with major health consequences, it remains less clear if the widespread use of disinfectants, such as benzalkonium chlorides (BAC), a different class of biocides than antibiotics, has contributed to this problem. Here, we provide evidence that exposure to BAC coselects for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and describe the underlying genetic mechanisms. After inoculation with river sediment, BAC-fed bioreactors selected for several bacterial taxa, including the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, that were more resistant to several antibiotics than their counterparts in a control (no BAC) bioreactor. A metagenomic analysis of the bioreactor microbial communities, confirmed by gene cloning experiments with the derived isolates, suggested that integrative and conjugative elements encoding a BAC efflux pump together with antibiotic resistance genes were responsible for these results. Furthermore, the exposure of the P. aeruginosa isolates to increasing concentrations of BAC selected for mutations in pmrB (polymyxin resistance) and physiological adaptations that contributed to a higher tolerance to polymyxin B and other antibiotics. The physiological adaptations included the overexpression of mexCD-oprJ multidrug efflux pump genes when BAC was added in the growth medium at subinhibitory concentrations. Collectively, our results demonstrated that disinfectants promote antibiotic resistance via several mechanisms and highlight the need to remediate (degrade) disinfectants in nontarget environments to further restrain the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.IMPORTANCE Benzalkonium chlorides (BAC) are biocides broadly used in disinfectant solutions. Disinfectants are widely used in food processing lines, domestic households, and pharmaceutical products and are typically designed to have a different mode of action than antibiotics to avoid interfering with the use of the latter. Whether exposure to BAC makes bacteria more resistant to antibiotics remains an unresolved issue of obvious practical consequences for public health. Using an integrated approach that combines metagenomics of natural microbial communities with gene cloning experiments with isolates and experimental evolution assays, we show that the widely used benzalkonium chloride disinfectants promote clinically relevant antibiotic resistance. Therefore, more attention should be given to the usage of these disinfectants, and their fate in nontarget environments should be monitored more tightly.
Project description:Staphylococci are frequently isolated from food processing environments, and it has been speculated whether survival after cleaning and disinfection with benzalkonium chloride (BC)-containing disinfectants is due to biofilm formation, matrix composition, or BC e?ux mechanisms. Out of 35 food associated staphylococci, eight produced biofilm in a microtiter plate assay and were identified as Staphylococcus capitis (2), S. cohnii, S. epidermidis, S. lentus (2), and S. saprophyticus (2). The eight biofilm producing strains were characterized using whole genome sequencing. Three of these strains contained the ica operon responsible for production of a polysaccharide matrix, and formed a biofilm which was detached upon exposure to the polysaccharide degrading enzyme Dispersin B, but not Proteinase K or trypsin. These strains were more tolerant to the lethal effect of BC both in suspension and biofilm than the remaining five biofilm producing strains. The five BC susceptible strains were characterized by lack of the ica operon, and their biofilms were detached by Proteinase K or trypsin, but not Dispersin B, indicating that proteins were major structural components of their biofilm matrix. Several novel cell wall anchored repeat domain proteins with domain structures similar to that of MSCRAMM adhesins were identified in the genomes of these strains, potentially representing novel mechanisms of ica-independent biofilm accumulation. Biofilms from all strains showed similar levels of detachment after exposure to alkaline chlorine, which is used for cleaning in the food industry. Strains with qac genes encoding BC e?ux pumps could grow at higher concentrations of BC than strains without these genes, but no differences were observed at biocidal concentrations. In conclusion, the biofilm matrix of food associated staphylococci varies with respect to protein or polysaccharide nature, and this may affect the sensitivity toward a commonly used disinfectant.