Salmonella biofilm formation in chronic carrier pigs: impact on gut colonization, genetic markers for functional diagnostics and potential as target for non-antibiotic therapy (SalmiPIG)
The goal of this project is to expand the knowledge on the role of Salmonella biofilm in pig farming. In a first subgoal we aim to investigate Salmonella biofilm formation as a strong contributor to its chronic colonization in the pig gut. In a second subgoal we aim to identify genetic markers for the capacity of biofilm formation. These markers can be included in fuctional diagnostic tools that focus on a phenotypic functional feature of an infecting strain, namely its biofilm formation capacity. In the shorter term, this is expected to allow farmers to better estimate the risk and optimize the biosecurity management and anti-Salmonella measures on the farm. In the longer term, this will open doors to implementation of anti-biofilm compounds that prevent Salmonella gut colonization on their own or that increase the effectiveness of complementary anti-Salmonella measures, such as drinking water acidifaction, adaptation of feed or antibiotic treatment in case of symptomatic infections. Several plant derived compounds are endowed with anti-biofilm activity, opening up perspectives for the use of these plants as feed additives. Moreover, we recently provided strong support for the notion that biofilm inhibitors, as opposed to antibiotics, are robust to development of resistance.