Surfactin production is not essential for pellicle and root-associated biofilmdevelopment of Bacillus subtilis

Maude Thérien, Heiko T. Kiesewalter, Emile Auria, Vincent Charron-Lamoreux, Mario Wibowo, Gergely Maróti, Ákos T. Kovács*, Pascale B. Beuregard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Secondary metabolites have an important impact on the biocontrol potential of soil-derived microbes. In addition, various microbe-produced chemicals have been suggested to impact the development and phenotypic differentiation of bacteria, including biofilms. The non-ribosomal synthesized lipopeptide of Bacillus subtilis, surfactin, has been described to impact the plant promoting capacity of the bacterium. Here, we investigated the impact of surfactin production on biofilm formation of B. subtilis using the laboratory model systems; pellicle formation at the air-medium interface and architecturally complex colony development, in addition to plant root-associated biofilms. We found that the production of surfactin by B. subtilis is not essential for pellicle biofilm formation neither in the well-studied strain, NCIB 3610, nor in the newly isolated environmental strains, but lack of surfactin reduces colony expansion. Further, plant root colonization was comparable both in the presence or absence of surfactin synthesis. Our results suggest that surfactin-related biocontrol and plant promotion in B. subtilis strains are independent of biofilm formation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100021
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bacilicus subtilis
  • Biofilm
  • Surfactin
  • Plant root colonization
  • Pellicle


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