Growth comparison of several Escherichia coli strains exposed to various concentrations of lactoferrin using linear spline regression
1 Norwegian Veterinary Institute, P. O. Box 750 Dep, N-0106, Oslo, Norway
2 Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Epi-Centre, Department of Food Safety and Infection Biolog, P.O. Box 8146 Dep, N-0033, Oslo, Norway
3 Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, P.O. Box 5003, N-1432, Aas, Norway
Microbial Informatics and Experimentation 2012, 2:5 doi:10.1186/2042-5783-2-5Published: 16 April 2012
We wanted to compare growth differences between 13 Escherichia coli strains exposed to various concentrations of the growth inhibitor lactoferrin in two different types of broth (Syncase and Luria-Bertani (LB)). To carry this out, we present a simple statistical procedure that separates microbial growth curves that are due to natural random perturbations and growth curves that are more likely caused by biological differences.
Bacterial growth was determined using optical density data (OD) recorded for triplicates at 620 nm for 18 hours for each strain. Each resulting growth curve was divided into three equally spaced intervals. We propose a procedure using linear spline regression with two knots to compute the slopes of each interval in the bacterial growth curves. These slopes are subsequently used to estimate a 95% confidence interval based on an appropriate statistical distribution. Slopes outside the confidence interval were considered as significantly different from slopes within. We also demonstrate the use of related, but more advanced methods known collectively as generalized additive models (GAMs) to model growth. In addition to impressive curve fitting capabilities with corresponding confidence intervals, GAM’s allow for the computation of derivatives, i.e. growth rate estimation, with respect to each time point.
The results from our proposed procedure agreed well with the observed data. The results indicated that there were substantial growth differences between the E. coli strains. Most strains exhibited improved growth in the nutrient rich LB broth compared to Syncase. The inhibiting effect of lactoferrin varied between the different strains. The atypical enteropathogenic aEPEC-2 grew, on average, faster in both broths than the other strains tested while the enteroinvasive strains, EIEC-6 and EIEC-7 grew slower. The enterotoxigenic ETEC-5 strain, exhibited exceptional growth in Syncase broth, but slower growth in LB broth.
Our results do not indicate clear growth differences between pathogroups or pathogenic versus non-pathogenic E. coli.