Lactose triggers biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans

Danielle Assaf, Doron Steinberg, Moshe Shemesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The most cariogenic bacterium. , Streptococcus mutans, often adopts a sessile lifestyle in response to carbohydrates. Biofilm formation represents one of the most successful strategies for survival by S.mutans in a dental environment. This study reports induced biofilm formation by S.mutans in the presence of lactose, the primary sugar in milk. Importantly, no major difference was observed in S.mutans growth in the presence of different concentrations of lactose in growth medium, indicating that lactose has a specific effect on biofilm formation. Moreover, extracellular polysaccharides produced by S.mutans in response to lactose were found to be different from the polysaccharides produced in the presence of sucrose. It is further reported that several biofilm-related genes of S.mutans were significantly up-regulated in response to lactose. These results lead to the conclusion that lactose may promote biofilm formation by S.mutans, the most important bacterium involved in dental diseases.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Dairy Journal
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


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