Molecular Level Analysis of Macromolecule-Surface Interactions in Bacterial Adhesion

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Special Projects Office in the Chemistry Division supports this Collaborative Research Activities in Environmental Molecular Science (CRAEMS) Award to Penn State University. This award supports Bruce Logan, Darrel Velegol, Jon Chorover and James Kubicki to study macromolecule-surface interactions in bacterial adhesion in natural and engineered aquatic systems at the molecular level. In addition, the award supports Menachem Elimelech at Yale University through a subaward to study theoretical and experimental aspects of bacterial cell motion and adhesion near interfaces. The underlying hypothesis is that cell-surface interactions are dominated by the interaction of cell-surface polymers (exopolymers), and natural organic matter, such as humic and fulvic acids, with the surface. Atomic Force Spectroscopy, FTIR, electro-hydrodynamic techniques, and molecular modeling will be employed to probe polymer size, strength, and conformation as a function of solution chemistry, surface charge, and surface composition. The goal is improved methods and models that describe interactions between particles and surfaces that are irregularly shaped at atomic levels in the presence of bonded and soluble macromolecules.

This research is designed to improve our understanding of bacterial adhesion in natural systems and in engineered environments. It has important implications for restoration of contaminated groundwater, water treatment, and wastewater reclamation, which will become increasingly important as availability of fresh water becomes a global environmental and human health concern. Outreach programs educate students of the local school system in environmental problems and approaches.

Effective start/end date9/15/008/31/05


  • National Science Foundation: $2,564,993.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.