Capture and retention of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts by Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

Kristin E. Searcy, Aaron I. Packman*, Edward R. Atwill, Thomas Harter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The association of Cryptosporidium oocysts with biofilm communities can influence the propagation of this pathogen through both environmental systems and water treatment systems. We observed the capture and retention of C. parvum oocysts in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms using laboratory flow cells. Biofilms were developed in two different growth media using two different strains of P. aeruginosa, a wild-type strain (PAO1) and a strain that overproduces the exopolysaccharide alginate (PDO300). Confocal laser-scanning microscopy was used in conjunction with image analysis to assess the structure of the biofilms prior to introducing oocysts into the flow cells. More oocysts were captured by the biofilm-coated surfaces than the abiotic glass surface in both media. There was no significant difference in capture across the two strains of P. aeruginosa biofilm, but the fraction of oocysts captured was positively related to biofilm roughness and surface-area-to-volume ratio. Once captured, oocysts were retained in the biofilm for more than 24 h and were not released after a 40-fold increase in the system flow rate. We believe the capture and retention of oocysts by biofilm communities can impact the environmental transmission of C. parvum, and this interaction should be taken into consideration when predicting the migration of pathogens in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6242-6247
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Capture and retention of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts by Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this