This study examined the adaptive response and survival of planktonic and biofilm phenotypes of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis adapted to benzalkonium chloride (BC). Planktonic cells and biofilms were continuously exposed to 1 μg ml-1 of BC for 144 h. The proportion of BC-adapted biofilm cells able to survive a lethal BC treatment (30 μg ml-1) was significantly higher (4.6-fold) than that of BC-adapted planktonic cells. Similarly, there were 18.3-fold more survivors among the BC-adapted biofilm cells than among their nonadapted (i.e., without prior BC exposure) cell counterparts at the lethal BC concentration, and this value was significantly higher than the value for BC-adapted planktonic cells versus nonadapted cells (3.2-fold). A significantly higher (P < 0.05) proportion of surviving cells was noticed among BC-adapted biofilm cells relative to BC-adapted planktonic cells following a 10-min heat shock at 55°C. Fatty acid composition was significantly influenced by phenotype (planktonic cells or biofilm) and BC adaptation. Cell surface roughness of biofilm cells was also significantly greater (P < 0.05) than that of planktonic cells. Key proteins upregulated in BC-adapted planktonic and biofilm cells included CspA, TrxA, Tsf, YjgF, and a probable peroxidase, STY0440. Nine and 17 unique proteins were upregulated in BC-adapted planktonic and biofilm cells, respectively. These results suggest that enhanced biofilm-specific upregulation of 17 unique proteins, along with the increased expression of CspA, TrxA, Tsf, YjgF, and a probable peroxidase, phenotype-specific alterations in cell surface roughness, and a shift in fatty acid composition conferred enhanced survival to the BC-adapted biofilm cell population relative to their BC-adapted planktonic cell counterparts.