Hypermucoviscous K. pneumoniae (HMV) are emergent zoonotic pathogens associated with increased invasiveness and pathogenicity in terrestrial and marine mammals. In this study, HMV and non-HMV isolates recovered from stranded pinnipeds were used to investigate: 1) their persistence in sea and fresh water microcosms at 10 and 20°C, 2) their capacity to form biofilms, and 3) the biocide efficacy of four disinfectants on their planktonic and biofilm phenotypes. Results indicated that although HMV isolates were significantly more mucoviscous, non-HMV isolates displayed significantly greater capacity to form biofilms (p < 0.05). Additionally, non-HMV isolates persisted in greater numbers in both sea- and freshwater, particularly at 20°C. These two phenomena could be associated with the greater growth observed for non-HMV isolates in in-vitro growth-curve assays (p < 0.05). Similar susceptibility to disinfectants was detected in HMV and non-HMV isolates when exposed for 24 h; however, the minimal biofilm disinfectant eradication concentration for HMV isolates was significantly higher than that for non-HMV when exposed to disinfectants for 0.5 h. This information should be taken into consideration when developing biosecurity protocols in facilities holding marine mammals in captivity.
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