Escherichia coli Adhesion and Biofilm Formation on Polydimethylsiloxane are Independent of Substrate Stiffness

Sandra L. Arias, Joshua Devorkin, Ana Civantos, Jean Paul Allain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on the surface of biomedical devices are detrimental processes that compromise patient safety and material functionality. Several physicochemical factors are involved in biofilm growth, including the surface properties. Among these, material stiffness has recently been suggested to influence microbial adhesion and biofilm growth in a variety of polymers and hydrogels. However, no clear consensus exists about the role of material stiffness in biofilm initiation and whether very compliant substrates are deleterious to bacterial cell adhesion. Here, by systematically tuning substrate topography and stiffness while keeping the surface free energy of polydimethylsiloxane substrates constant, we show that topographical patterns at the micron and submicron scale impart unique properties to the surface which are independent of the material stiffness. The current work provides a better understanding of the role of material stiffness in bacterial physiology and may constitute a cost-effective and simple strategy to reduce bacterial attachment and biofilm growth even in very compliant and hydrophobic polymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalLangmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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