Bacterial adhesion to glass and metal-oxide surfaces

Baikun Li, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

520 Scopus citations


Metal oxides can increase the adhesion of negatively-charged bacteria to surfaces primarily due to their positive charge. However, the hydrophobicity of a metal-oxide surface can also increase adhesion of bacteria. In order to understand the relative contribution of charge and hydrophobicity to bacterial adhesion, we measured the adhesion of 8 strains of bacteria, under conditions of low and high-ionic strength (1 and 100 mM, respectively) to 11 different surfaces and examined adhesion as a function of charge, hydrophobicity (water contact angle) and surface energy. Inorganic surfaces included three uncoated glass surfaces and eight metal-oxide thin films prepared on the upper (non-tin-exposed) side of float glass by chemical vapor deposition. The Gram-negative bacteria differed in lengths of lipopolysaccharides on their outer surface (three Escherichia coli strains), the amounts of exopolysaccharides (two Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains), and their known relative adhesion to sand grains (two Burkholderia cepacia strains). One Gram positive bacterium was also used that had a lower adhesion to glass than these other bacteria (Bacillus subtilis). For all eight bacteria, there was a consistent increase in adhesion between with the type of inorganic surface in the order: float glass exposed to tin (coded here as Si-Sn), glass microscope slide (Si-m), uncoated air-side float glass surface (Si-a), followed by thin films of (Co1-y-zFe yCrz)3O4, Ti/Fe/O, TiO2, SnO2, SnO2:F, SnO2:Sb, A12O 3, and Fe2O3 (the colon indicates metal doping, a slash indicates that the metal is a major component, while the dash is used to distinguish surfaces). Increasing the ionic strength from 1 to 100 mM increased adhesion by a factor of 2.0 ± 0.6 (73% of the sample results were within the 95% CI) showing electrostatic charge was important in adhesion. However, adhesion was not significantly correlated with bacterial charge and contact angle. Adhesion (A) of the eight strains was significantly (P < 10-25) correlated with total adhesion free energy (U) between the bacteria and surface (A = 2162 e-1.8U).Although the correlation was significant, agreement between the model and data was poor for the low energy surfaces (R2 = 0.68), indicating that better models or additional methods to characterize bacteria and surfaces are still needed to more accurately describe initial bacterial adhesion to inorganic surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Bacterial adhesion to glass and metal-oxide surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this