The influence of surface chemistry on the kinetics and thermodynamics of bacterial adhesion. Academic Article uri icon


  • This work is concerned with investigating the effect of substrate hydrophobicity and zeta potential on the dynamics and kinetics of the initial stages of bacterial adhesion. For this purpose, bacterial pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli O157:H7 were inoculated on the substrates coated with thin thiol layers (i.e., 1-octanethiol, 1-decanethiol, 1-octadecanethiol, 16-mercaptohexadecanoic acid, and 2-aminoethanethiol hydrochloride) with varying hydrophobicity and surface potential. The time-resolved adhesion data revealed a transformation from an exponential dependence to a square root dependence on time upon changing the substrate from hydrophobic or hydrophilic with a negative zeta potential value to hydrophilic with a negative zeta potential for both pathogens. The dewetting of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) produced by E. coli O157:H7 was more noticeable on hydrophobic substrates, compared to that of S. aureus, which is attributed to the more amphiphilic nature of staphylococcal EPS. The interplay between the timescale of EPS dewetting and the inverse of the adhesion rate constant modulated the distribution of E. coli O157:H7 within microcolonies and the resultant microcolonial morphology on hydrophobic substrates. Observed trends in the formation of bacterial monolayers rather than multilayers and microcolonies rather than isolated and evenly spaced bacterial cells could be explained by a colloidal model considering van der Waals and electrostatic double-layer interactions only after introducing the contribution of elastic energy due to adhesion-induced deformations at intercellular and substrate-cell interfaces. The gained knowledge is significant in the context of identifying surfaces with greater risk of bacterial contamination and guiding the development of novel surfaces and coatings with superior bacterial antifouling characteristics.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 0.25
  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Oh, J. K., Yegin, Y., Yang, F., Zhang, M., Li, J., Huang, S., ... Akbulut, M.

citation count

  • 144
  • 77

complete list of authors

  • Oh, Jun Kyun||Yegin, Yagmur||Yang, Fan||Zhang, Ming||Li, Jingyu||Huang, Shifeng||Verkhoturov, Stanislav V||Schweikert, Emile A||Perez-Lewis, Keila||Scholar, Ethan A||Taylor, T Matthew||Castillo, Alejandro||Cisneros-Zevallos, Luis||Min, Younjin||Akbulut, Mustafa

publication date

  • November 2018
  • January 2018