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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Survey of bacterial diversity in chronic wounds using Pyrosequencing, DGGE, and full ribosome shotgun sequencing

Scot E Dowd1*, Yan Sun2, Patrick R Secor3, Daniel D Rhoads2, Benjamin M Wolcott2, Garth A James3 and Randall D Wolcott2

Author affiliations

1 United States Department of Agriculture ARS Livestock Issues Research Unit, Lubbock, TX, USA

2 Medical Biofilm Research Institute, Lubbock, TX, USA

3 Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2008, 8:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-8-43

Published: 6 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Chronic wound pathogenic biofilms are host-pathogen environments that colonize and exist as a cohabitation of many bacterial species. These bacterial populations cooperate to promote their own survival and the chronic nature of the infection. Few studies have performed extensive surveys of the bacterial populations that occur within different types of chronic wound biofilms. The use of 3 separate16S-based molecular amplifications followed by pyrosequencing, shotgun Sanger sequencing, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis were utilized to survey the major populations of bacteria that occur in the pathogenic biofilms of three types of chronic wound types: diabetic foot ulcers (D), venous leg ulcers (V), and pressure ulcers (P).

Results

There are specific major populations of bacteria that were evident in the biofilms of all chronic wound types, including Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Peptoniphilus, Enterobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Finegoldia, and Serratia spp. Each of the wound types reveals marked differences in bacterial populations, such as pressure ulcers in which 62% of the populations were identified as obligate anaerobes. There were also populations of bacteria that were identified but not recognized as wound pathogens, such as Abiotrophia para-adiacens and Rhodopseudomonas spp. Results of molecular analyses were also compared to those obtained using traditional culture-based diagnostics. Only in one wound type did culture methods correctly identify the primary bacterial population indicating the need for improved diagnostic methods.

Conclusion

If clinicians can gain a better understanding of the wound's microbiota, it will give them a greater understanding of the wound's ecology and will allow them to better manage healing of the wound improving the prognosis of patients. This research highlights the necessity to begin evaluating, studying, and treating chronic wound pathogenic biofilms as multi-species entities in order to improve the outcomes of patients. This survey will also foster the pioneering and development of new molecular diagnostic tools, which can be used to identify the community compositions of chronic wound pathogenic biofilms and other medical biofilm infections.