Development and characterization of a simple perfused oral microcosm.

A J McBain, C Sissons, R G Ledder, P K Sreenivasan, W De Vizio, P Gilbert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    AIMS: To validate perfused, inline, filter-based fermentation systems (multiple Sorbarod devices, MSD) for their ability to maintain stable oral bacterial communities. MSD enable replicate (n=5) microcosm biofilms (BF) to be established and sampled, together with their perfusates (PA, cells in eluted medium). METHODS AND RESULTS: Fresh saliva from human volunteers was used to inoculate MSD, incubated in an anaerobic cabinet and perfused with artificial saliva at 7 ml h(-1). BF within Sorbarod filters and cells eluted in the PA were analysed at 24-h intervals by differential bacteriological culture and checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization (CKB, 40 oral species). Dynamic stability was apparent after 2-3 days within both BF and PA as evidenced by culture, CKB data and pH measurements. BF harboured large numbers of anaerobic species and facultative anaerobes [ca 10-11 log10 colony-forming units (CFU)/filter] comprising considerable numbers of streptococci and Gram-negative species. PA contained ca 9-10 log(10) CFU ml(-1) suggesting an apparent mean growth rate of 0.1 h(-1) for the BF, as a whole corresponding to a mean generation time of 10 h. CKB analysis revealed considerable bacterial diversity within the respective MSD. Inter-individual variations in the relative species abundance of inocula was broadly reproduced in the MSD (BF and PA), although considerable variation was apparent between triplicate models established using saliva from one saliva donor or from three individual donors. The dominance of Gram-negative species, indicated by culture was supported by CKB analysis (major species, Prevotella melaninogenica and Fusobacterium nucleatum). CONCLUSIONS: Data obtained from the various analytical approaches showed a high degree of congruence. The MSD enables the maintenance of complex, stable salivary microcosms and represents a simple, reproducible tool for modelling individual oral bacterial ecosystems. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This study demonstrates the utility of the MSD for studying the micro-ecology of the oral cavity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)624-634
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • Dental plaque
    • DNA-checkerboard
    • Multiple sorbarod device
    • Perfused microcosm


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